Needed: A New Church Policy Toward Islam [Pt. 3]

In his book America Alone, Mark Steyn observed that “there is no market for a faith that has no faith in itself.” He was referring to Christianity’s loss of faith in itself as exemplified by the decline of Christianity in Europe and the corresponding rise of Islam—a faith that does have faith in itself.

Three Part Series 3A new Church policy toward Islam should be geared toward reversing that situation—that is, undercutting Islam’s faith in itself while at the same time strengthening the faith of Christians. Many others have written about the second half of the equation, so let me concentrate on the first. How do you sow the seeds of doubt in the minds of Muslims?

I’ve already addressed the objection that sowing doubts is not a nice thing to do. Many Catholics seem to believe that religion is ipso facto a good thing, which means that weakening someone’s religious faith would be a terrible thing to do. Yet history provides many examples of religions that seem best consigned to the past—for example, the child-sacrificing religion of the Carthaginians and the human-sacrificing religion of the Aztecs.

Catholics are reluctant to put Islam in the same category as the Carthaginians for two reasons: First, Islam is a very big religion—the faith of a billion and a half people. Second, Islam bears a superficial similarity to Christianity; Muslims believe in one God and they “revere” Jesus. Yet it’s estimated that some 270 million people have been killed in the name of Islam over the centuries—far more than the combined total of all those killed in the name of Nazism or communism. It’s not politically correct to compare Islam to totalitarian ideologies, yet many respected authorities including Catholic authorities, have done just that. Consider this entry from the 1910 edition of the Catholic Encyclopedia: “In matters political, Islam is a system of despotism at home and aggression abroad…. The rights of non-Muslim subjects are of the vaguest and most limited kind, and a religious war is a sacred duty whenever there is a chance of success against the ‘Infidel.”’

As I suggested in the previous column, a new policy toward Islam should be based on the assumption that Islam is an ideological enemy, just as communism once was and still is. The idea is to wean people away from the ideology by undermining and discrediting it, and also by offering a better alternative. Because Islam has proven itself to be a totalitarian system, we should try to weaken faith in it just as, during the Cold War, the West (with considerable help from the Catholic Church) attempted to weaken faith in communism.

But it’s difficult to give other people second thoughts about their religion if you don’t know the first thing about it yourself. And there are numerous indications that Catholic authorities are badly informed about Islam—else why do they continue to maintain, in the face of overwhelming evidence, that Islam is a religion of peace? So the first thing that Catholics need to do is to get up to speed on Islam.

Getting up to speed means that you won’t be thrown for a loop the next time a Muslim apologist (or a Catholic defender of Islam) quotes the Koran to the effect that “there shall be no compulsion in religion” (2: 256). You could confidently reply that that verse is cancelled out by the Koranic doctrine of abrogation (2: 106). Or you could point out that the non-compulsion clause doesn’t square with the apostasy laws. Islamic authorities are universally agreed that the penalty for apostasy is death. It seems safe to say that most rational people would agree that the prospect of being killed if you leave Islam is a form of compulsion. For the exact citation about the penalty in one of the most authoritative Islamic law books see Reliance of the Traveller 0.8.1 and 0.8.2.

Another Koranic verse that is frequently used to reassure Islam illiterates is this one: “We laid it down for the Israelites that whoever killed a human being … shall be regarded as having killed all mankind” (5: 32). That sounds fine unless you happen to be familiar with the next verse:

Those that make war against God and His apostle and spread disorder in the land shall be slain or crucified or have their hands and feet cut off on opposite sides (5:33).

The trouble is, too many Catholics, including a great many in the Catholic leadership, aren’t familiar with the Koran or, for that matter, with the Sira, the Hadith, or the Islamic law books. They seem content to rely on whatever Islamic apologists tell them about Islam. All that is necessary to deconstruct and dismantle the political-religious ideology of Islam is readily available in the Islamic sources, but Catholics first need to become acquainted with them.

Once you’ve studied up on Islam, the first thing you realize is that the key to sowing the seeds of disbelief is Muhammad himself—he who must not be maligned. The prophet is Islam’s main prop. The whole religion rests on his veracity. If he is discredited, Islam is discredited. We often hear of the five pillars of Islam, but Muhammad is the essential pillar. And he is a surprisingly fragile one. He is Islam’s link to the Almighty, but also its weakest link.

Islamic leaders intuitively understand this. Which is why any cartoon or criticism of Muhammad is met with displays of rage and fury. An attack on Muhammad is an attack on the whole faith. As some experts on Islam have suggested, criticism of Muhammad is a more serious offense than criticism of Allah. To get an idea of Muhammad’s centrality, consider that there is no corresponding outcry among Muslims when Jesus is mocked or caricatured in a cartoon. Yet, according to Muslims, Jesus is also a great prophet and is, in fact, considered to be the greatest Muslim prophet after Muhammad. The truth, however, is that the Muslim Jesus plays a relatively minor role in Islam. For strategic reasons, the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation’s anti-blasphemy resolutions are formulated to protect all prophets from slander, but in practice the only prophet that matters is Muhammad.

Jesus—the real Jesus, that is—has survived a good deal of mockery over the centuries. More to the point, he has survived the tests of critical and historical analysis that have been applied to Christian scripture. If anything, the examination has served to strengthen the case for the trustworthiness of the New Testament accounts. It’s highly unlikely, however, that Muhammad could survive a similar examination. That is why, from a survivalist perspective, it ought to be undertaken.

For example, did he even exist? Contrary to what is commonly supposed, the case for the historical Muhammad is not nearly as well-established as the case for people who lived long before him such as Julius Caesar, Cicero, Alexander the Great, Aristotle, and Pericles. Some scholars have suggested that the stories about Muhammad are more legend than fact, and some suggest that Muhammad was the creation of Arab conquerors who needed to invent an historical and theological justification for their conquests. In any event, there is little historical or archaeological evidence to confirm the traditional story of Muhammad. The question of his existence is an avenue of inquiry that merits further exploration. Yet, curiously, few seem willing to explore it. However, there are some exceptions. Some books on the subject for a non-scholarly audience are Emmet Scott’s Mohammed and Charlemagne Revisited, Norbert Pressburg’s What the Modern Martyr Should Know, and Robert Spencer’s Did Muhammad Exist? (which includes a helpful bibliography of scholarly sources). Was Muhammad more myth than man? If so, the next pertinent question is the one raised by Spencer: “Are jihadists dying for a fiction?”

If Muhammad did exist as traditionally portrayed and if the canonical accounts of his life are accurate, then there are some questions about his character and credibility that need to be asked. According to Raymond Ibrahim, revelations about Muhammad’s’ character are the main reason that Muslims leave Islam. Muhammad is supposed to be the perfect man, and it comes as a shock to many Muslims when they discover he was far from perfect. A youngster’s first encounter with Muhammad is likely to come in the form of hagiographic stories that describe him as noble and saintly. It can be sobering to eventually learn that Muhammad ordered mass executions of defenseless people, traded slaves, permitted rape, married a six year old, married his own daughter-in-law, and engaged in deceit and trickery. And that’s only the short list. Fr. Zakaria Botros, a Coptic priest whose TV show is broadcast to the Arab world, sometimes presents a catalogue of Muhammad’s sexual habits and then asks his Muslim audience: “Is this the prophet I follow?” It’s a good question to put to the members of an honor culture because if the leader you are following is a dishonorable man, then your own honor is at stake if you continue to follow him.

Of course, when evaluating a prophet, the most important character trait to consider is honesty. Did Muhammad really receive a revelation from the angel Gabriel, or did he make the whole thing up? We have only his word for it. There is no other corroborating evidence. Here is where the historical-critical method comes in handy. Exhibit A is the Koran. It’s supposed to be the eternal word of God. Muslims say that Muhammad couldn’t possibly have invented it because he was (supposedly) illiterate. The proof that God wrote it, they say, lies in its inimitable style: who else but God could write so well? This is a little hard to swallow because, although there are beautiful passages in the Koran, much of it does look as though it were written by a semi-literate merchant. Well, that’s a little harsh. It’s more accurate to say that it seems to have been written by someone with a flair for poetic language, but with little sense of composition and with limited storytelling ability. Here are a couple of scholarly assessments:

His characters are all alike, and they utter the same platitudes. He is fond of dramatic dialogue, but has very little sense of dramatic scene or action. The logical connections between successive episodes is often loose, sometimes wanting; and points of importance, necessary for the clear understanding of the story, are likely to be left out. (C.C. Torrey, The Jewish Foundation of Islam, New York, 1933, p. 108)

The book aesthetically considered is by no means a first-rate performance…indispensable links, both in expression and in the sequence of events, are often omitted … and nowhere do we find a steady advance in the narration … and even the syntax betrays great awkwardness…. (Theodor Noldeke in Encyclopedia Britannica, 11th ed., Vol. 15, pp. 898-906)

The Muslim comeback to such quibbling is that people who can’t read classical Arabic can’t possibly appreciate the Koran. The soaring style and lilting language of it are simply lost on the Arabic-challenged. In short, if you don’t speak Arabic, then who are you to judge?

When I first came across this argument, it seemed to make sense—for a few minutes, anyway. Then I remembered that I don’t read Greek either, but when I read Homer in translation I can usually distinguish the parts where he is telling a ripping good story from the parts where he is merely nodding. For that matter, I don’t read Russian, but when I read Tolstoy in translation I can appreciate the beauty of his descriptions while noticing at the same time that he occasionally goes on too long about peasants cutting hay in the fields. You don’t have to read French to appreciate Balzac or Italian to appreciate Manzoni. Why is Arabic the only language that doesn’t translate?

There are tedious passages in the Bible, too. Most of us, I daresay, tend to skip over the “so-and-so-begat-so-and-so” parts. But this does not present a serious problem for Christians since most do not consider the Bible to be a word-for-word dictation from God. Likewise, the fact that parts of the Bible are problematic from a scientific point of view doesn’t vitiate the authenticity of the scriptures. The human writers of the Bible were limited by the scientific knowledge of their times. However, when the Koran says that the earth is flat and is composed of seven layers, Muslims are faced with a problem. On the one hand, Allah, the author of the Koran, would have unlimited scientific knowledge; on the other hand, he is uttering obvious scientific falsehoods.

If the tools of textual criticism were applied to the Koran, it would be difficult to avoid the conclusion that it is a fabrication—if not of Muhammad’s making, then of someone else’s. One glaring clue is that the author of the Koran, whoever he was, keeps insisting that it’s not a fabrication. The phrase “this is not an invented tale,” or some variation thereof, is repeated dozens of times in the Koran. For example, verse 10:37-38 declares “This Koran could not have been devised by any but God…. It is beyond doubt from the Lord of the Universe. If they say: ‘He invented it himself,’ say, ‘Bring me one chapter like it.’” The net effect of all these self-referential attestations to the authenticity of the Koran is to cast doubt on its authenticity. It’s as though your neighbor is telling you a fish story and feels compelled to assure you at regular intervals that “It’s the God’s honest truth. I swear!” The more he protests the truth of his account, the more you doubt it.

Whether out of fear or out of politeness, the Koran has not been subject to the searching examination that historians, archaeologists, linguists, and textual critics have applied to the Bible. To put it bluntly, it would never survive such an examination. The same holds true of the Jesus of the Koran. He is not a believable character. In fact, he hardly rises to the level of a character. He is more like a disembodied voice than a person. The portrait of him in the Koran is so one-dimensional that to call him a stick figure would not do justice to sticks.

Which brings us to the other Jesus—the real one. If Muhammad is the key to casting doubts about Islam, Jesus of Nazareth provides the path out of Islam. The penalty for converting away from Islam is death, so it takes a fairly compelling reason to convert—such as Jesus himself. According to various reports, a surprisingly high percentage of Muslim conversions to Christianity result from a dream or vision of Jesus—the Christian Jesus, that is.

This suggests a promising avenue of approach for evangelists, apologists, and theologians. Instead of congratulating Muslims on revering the same Jesus we do (it’s not the same Jesus), try to introduce them to the real story of the real Jesus. Most Muslims aren’t familiar with the Gospel story. Most have learned that the Bible should not be consulted because they are taught that Christians and Jews have thoroughly corrupted the text. The true story, they believe, is the story of Jesus that’s presented in the Koran. And since it’s not a very interesting story, they can be forgiven if they think that Jesus is not a particularly compelling figure.

So, one of the first orders of business is to convey the story of Jesus, whether through the Gospels or in film or in simplified story versions. How exactly this message should be conveyed is a matter I will leave up to Christian professionals who know more about media and communications than I do. However, it’s important to remember that Muslim countries have high rates of illiteracy. Audio and visual messages are more likely to have an effect. One other thing to keep in mind is that Islam is a religion that emphasizes power. For that reason it seems important to underscore the power of Christ—the casting out of demons and moneychangers, the healing of the lame and blind, the raising of the dead, the fearlessness in the face of authorities, the final triumph over death itself. And, of course, Muslims need to be informed that at the Last Judgment, it is Jesus Christ, not Isa, who will do the judging.

Who is the real Jesus and what is the true account of his life? A Muslim who becomes acquainted with both versions—the Gospel account and the Koranic account—gets to see that Jesus of Nazareth is a far more compelling figure than the Isa of the Koran. What’s more, he is a far more believable person than Isa. As I wrote elsewhere:

In using Jesus for his own ends, Muhammad neglects to give him any personality. The Jesus of the New Testament is a recognizable human being; the Jesus of the Koran is more like a phantom. When did he carry out his ministry? There is not a hint. Where did he live? Again, there is no indication. Where was he born? Under a palm tree. That’s about as specific as it gets in the Koran. In short, Muhammad’s Jesus is a nebulous figure. He seems to exist neither in time nor in space. In the Gospels, you meet Jesus of Nazareth; in the Koran, you meet someone who can best be described as Jesus of Neverland.

In short, the Gospel story has the ring of authenticity. It provides an abundance of geographical and historical detail. It pays close attention to persons, places, and events. When Jesus and his disciples converse, it actually sounds like human conversation rather than (as in the Koran) cryptic voices from the ethersphere. Conversely, the author of the Koran seems to know almost nothing about the life of Jesus—not even the names of his disciples. Set against the Gospel story, the story of the Muslim Jesus rings exceedingly hollow—which may be one reason that there are no Bibles for sale in Saudi Arabia.

There is much more than can be said on the subject of casting doubt among the followers of the prophet. For instance, any theologian worth his salt could have a field day taking apart the idea that seventy-two virgins await the martyr in paradise. But the upshot is that the case for Christianity is considerably stronger than the case for Islam. Theologically, Islam is a house of cards. It can’t stand up to examination, which is why Islam’s guardians go ballistic at the least hint of criticism. Nevertheless, Catholics should start making the case while there is still time—before the questioning of Islam becomes a crime, or before the Islamic world goes ballistic in the literal sense of the term.

Which brings us to the subject of Church diplomacy—a subject which I don’t have space to discuss here. What I’ve outlined above are some theological initiatives that Catholics should be taking. I’ve left aside the whole issue of Vatican diplomacy because it’s a subject unto itself.

In a future column, I plan to address the question of how the Church can apply various types of diplomatic pressure.

(Photo credit: REUTERS/Akhtar Soomro)

William Kilpatrick

By

William Kilpatrick taught for many years at Boston College. He is the author of several books about cultural and religious issues, including Why Johnny Can’t Tell Right From Wrong; and Christianity, Islam and Atheism: The Struggle for the Soul of the West and The Politically Incorrect Guide to Jihad. His articles have appeared in numerous publications, including Catholic World Report, National Catholic Register, Aleteia, Saint Austin Review, Investor’s Business Daily, and First Things. His work is supported in part by the Shillman Foundation. For more on his work and writings, visit his website, turningpointproject.com

  • If London is any indication of where things are headed (watch recent rally calling for anti-blasphemy laws below), there will no doubt be hate crime legislation sought against any who speak critically of Islam, and gladly so by demon-possessed leftists who hate Christ so much they wouldn’t bat an eye if Cathedrals around the USA became mosques.

    http://gatesofvienna.net/2015/02/these-people-dont-belong-in-this-country/

    • AnneM040359

      That is why the internet has become so very important in the 21st century for getting the much need word out about Islam and Islamfacism.

      • St JD George

        It’s also become a pretty handy tool for the professional protester class too as I understand it, for “community organizing” and rally support. One glitzy graphic, clever catch phrase and you’re one tweet away from getting at least a few dozen to get off their couch to respond.

    • St JD George

      The ignorance on display will be breath taking when they realize that those who cling to some of their most cherished rights like sodomy and pornography will be among to be the first to be brutalized clinging for their very lives with their souls long since perished.
      There are many stories of churches being turned into Mosque’s already in our own country. Sad indeed, I wish they had been imploded and demolished first before being defiled.

      • It should be a requirement that prior to selling any Church, it is demolished.

    • St JD George

      I finally had a chance to follow link. Only 30 showed up – that’s ridiculous, almost like a spur of the moment thing emptying out a very small pub. I guess people are too busy to take note, now at least. Someday they will be made to care and their comfort will be taken away like a blanket in the night, forced to face their cowardice by force not on their terms. I realize London is a multicultural city like almost no other and people don’t hardly bat an eye to folks from other places. However, most want to assimilate or just keep to themselves, there is one who has an entirely different objective.

      • From what I understand thousands of Germans are constantly protesting en masse against the islamisation of Germany/Europe. Not much mainstream coverage there.

        England has political parties and groups against the same thing, but are highly marginslized and branded as — wait for it! — “hate groups.”

        Yes, Londonistan is almost here.

  • AnneM040359

    How about the NEED to witness for the Gospel of Jesus to the Muslims and other non-believers, not only bringing the Gospel, but baptizing them as commanded by Jesus in the same Gospel.

  • St JD George

    Your perspective reminds me of a video we watched in RCIA. It was between a Baptist Preacher and a Catholic Priest whose churches were close and became friends, I believe somewhere near Detroit. Of course, one can have that dialog more freely when there is civility and non life threatening. You can imagine how it went, essentially just an open discussion where they both asked questions about the origins of traditions and practices in each others faith that are sometimes misunderstood, as well as their common beliefs. They were passionate and good on camera making it enjoyable to watch.
    I thought about that last year driving by a nearby Mosque which operates very secretively with no community interaction that I can discern beyond their members (I could be wrong, but I didn’t see anything on their website or read of any). There may be an issue of cultural sensitivity and security since this area has a pretty strong Christian heritage, giving them the benefit of the doubt.
    Hard to imagine how what you propose would come to fruition. I groaned yesterday at the news of yet another “random act of violence” against a street artist in Paris who had the simple secular message of “Coexist”, i.e. all faiths. That’s kind of a funny thing we see in society isn’t it, the least honest intellectually want to shout down the other side in the tame of tolerance most intolerantly, be it the “settled science” of climate change, defending the right to chose infanticide and immoral behavior, or blasphemously promoting other faiths over the way, the truth, and the life.
    I’m afraid our church’s message, in the west at least, has been mottled over time to be little more than advocating to Coexist as well, promoting social justice and redistribution over all else including the business of saving souls. Like with the artist in Paris, there will be a price to be paid for the cowardly act of just settling to Coexist.

  • Nestorian

    I have no argument with the claim that Islam is a morally and spiritually inferior religion, and that it is founded upon a gigantic fraud – either at demonic or at human instigation, or some combination of the two.

    However, it is disingenuous of Kilpatrick to omit mention of the fact that some millions of people have been killed over the centuries in the name of Christianity too – just as in the name of Islam, Communism, and Nazism. This historical fact is to be attributed not to its Founder, Christ, but to those of his sinful followers who misunderstood the Gospel.

    The fact that Christ’s followers are often sinful remains fully relevant today. As such, I strongly suggest that any Christian who feels inclined to engage in some kind of grandiose civilizational conflict with Islam heed Christ’s admonishment to “take the plank out of thine own (Christian) eye, before trying to take the splinter out of thy (Muslim) brother’s eye” – lest the Christian in question wind up as a hypocrite in the eye of Christ (cf. Mt 7:5; Lk 6:42).

    • St JD George

      I see you were at the national prayer breakfast and got your talking points straight from the WH fuax clergy. Try to focus a little less on the acts of men and a little more on what the gospel of Jesus Christ teaches, and then contrast that with the commandments in the other “holy book” which compels conquest, coveting the spoils of war including both material and enslaving to human trafficking, to slaughter unmercifully all who will not willfully convert or submit. Jesus and Jesus alone will come again to separate the wheat from the chafe, but he alone compels us to love one another made from the same creator while we are in this world.

      • AnneM040359

        Frankly President Obama was caught in a number of lies. His nose is as big as a CA redwood tree.

      • Nestorian

        My focus is where it belongs – on the sinfulness of Christians who commit atrocities in Christ’s name. It has happened in the past, it is happening now (e.g.: priest-molesters who claim they act in the name of Christ), and it will happen in the future. It is untruthful to ignore or play this down, as Kilpatrick, Madden, and many others on this website do.

        Insofar as Christians are guilty of atrocities in Christ’s name, they are not only not better, but worse than the Muslims whom they deplore, since their betrayal of the moral ideals for which they claim to stand is greater than that of Muslims by virtue of the more elevated character of the Christian religion.

        • St JD George

          People doing bad deeds who claim to be doing the will of God falsely can not possibly be equated with people who are doing bad deeds defensibly because they book they cherish commands them to do so. How in the world can you not comprehend that?! Nobody who is a serious follower of Christ is defending the acts of the former. If you have a disdain for the teachings of Jesus Christ just say so.

          • Nestorian

            Madden defends killers in Christ’s name tendentiously, and Kilpatrick just ignores the fact that killers in the name of Christ even exist. Most readers of this site seem to follow Kilpatrick in just ignoring such unpalatable facts, much like the “Pro-choicers” ignore the unpalatable fact that abortion is also a form of murder.

            Both of these means of evading unpalatable truths increases the likelihood that history will repeat itself, and that we will soon once more see alleged followers of Christ drawn into the vortex of a most un-Christlike hatred, and from that standpoing of hatred, eagerly slaughtering Muslims.

            In fact, this dynamic of killing Muslims in the name of Christ has been going on already for quite some time – under the auspices of Christian generals in the US military, for example – but incendiary rhetorical offensives such as Kilpatrick’s are paving the way for such slaughter to go on at a much greater scale.

    • Objectivetruth

      Heretic, where is thy credibility?

      • AnneM040359

        I am looking to get Thomas F. Madden’s book on the true history of the crusades soon.

        • John200

          If that’s Madden’s (1999) “A Concise History of the Crusades,” you made a good choice.

      • Nestorian

        I am not in the least an admirer of Obama’s, and any agreement he and I may have about the Crusades is purely coincidental.

        • Objectivetruth

          Baloney. Cut the cutesy maneuvers. We’re not idiots.

          You follow the teachings of a heretic, attacking the Catholic Church on this site. You have no credibility.

    • AnneM040359

      To correct you, here is an EXCELLENT article by one Thomas F. Madden who corrects and sets the historic record straight on the issue of the crusades. http://www.crisismagazine.com/2011/the-real-history-of-the-crusades#at_pco=smlwn-1.0&at_si=54db5c9a573b91e3&at_ab=per-2&at_pos=0&at_tot=1

      • Nestorian

        I read Madden’s article, and I am not impressed.

        For one, Madden claims that Runciman’s three-volume history of the Crusades is gravely flawed. But he offers not a single fact or argument to support this claim or to refute anything in particular that Runciman wrote, making the claim itself worthless.

        Second, he appeals to the innumerable documents from the era attesting to the allegedly noble and selfless intentions of crusaders, particularly among the nobility. However, actions speak louder than words, and the actions of the crusaders were manifestly barbaric and self-serving in many instances. This makes the noble motives they claim in the documents Madden cites as worthless as whatever noble lies Hitler and Stalin told in their propaganda to justify their atrocities.

        Third, Madden himself grants, in passing, that these oh-so-noble crusaders may have taken advantage of their noble cause to aggrandize themselves some booty.

        This, however, is no trifling point. Rather, it goes straight to the heart of the fundamental immorality of the entire enterprise. To engage in mass-murder for the sake of booty is an abominable crime under any circumstances, and to do so hypocritically under the pretense of selflessly advancing the cause of Christ adds the sins of sacrilege and blasphemy to the sins of murder and theft involved in helping oneself to booty as such.

        Madden’s article, in short, is a tendentious whitewash. He is a pro-Catholic propagandist masquerading as a dispassionate historian.

    • AnneM040359

      The sad reality is that President Obama was caught on a number of lies in regards to the crusades and frankly attacked Christians in the process.

      • St JD George

        You know what’s also sad. It’s almost been a week now and the only voice of clergy I’ve heard to speak out on this blasphemy is the courageous Rev Graham. Nary a word from anyone (a leader) in our church. If I’m wrong, please correct me. I’d very much like to be wrong.

        • AnneM040359

          The only other member of the Christian clergy I have seen in this issue, and he was interviewed by Sean Hannity on “Hannity” last week was Father Jonathan Morris on what President Obama said at the Prayer Breakfast, with Bill Donahue, and another Prostestant minister whom I have forgotten his name.

          • St JD George

            I like Father Morris, he seems very friendly, informed and unafraid. I’m not surprised to hear. The lack of a response by any one more senior than he I take to mean complicit acceptance, and it’s maddening (to me). I find myself thinking about the beloved Arch Bishop Fulton Sheen and his wise advice about how we should respond in holding accountability. A church that is not vibrant strikes me as one that inward focused and monastical.

    • Bill Guentner

      It is certainly true that members of the Christian community have killed many over the years, particularly in the middle ages. However, the number of those killed by Christians is dwarfed by the number killed by Muslims. So the splinter in the eye of a Christian is just that, a splinter, but the “splinter” in the eye of the muslim is more akin to a railroad tie.

    • The_Monk

      To say “some millions of people” have been killed in the name of Christianity belies your historical ignorance. No serious modern scholar will support your claim. Peace…

      • Nestorian

        My contention that millions have been killed in the name of Christianity is undoubtedly not an exaggeration if you take full account of all the historical episodes involved. A partial listing of the relevant historical endeavors includes at least the following:

        1) All of the Medieval crusades;

        2) The medieval Inquisition, beginning with the Albigensian genocide in the 13th century

        3) The Spanish Inquistion that began in the late 15th century;

        4) The wars between Catholics and Protestants that wracked Europe in the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries;

        5) The various military expeditions undertaken at Papal instigation against various bodies of the Eastern Orthodox over the centuries, such as the Polish/Lithuanian effort to suppress Slavic Orthodoxy in the 16th century, and the murder of 800,000 Orthodox Serbs by the Croatian/Catholic Ustashe during WWII;

        6) The murder and genocides committed by Spanish and Portuguese conquistadores during the Age of Exploration;

        7) The fairly recent intra-Christian violence that has wracked Northern Ireland;

        8) The innumerable instances of Pogroms directed by Christians of all stripes against Jews over the course of over 1500 years.

        Other items could undoubtedly be added to this list that do not occur to me off the top of my head.

        And yes, when you sum up the totals of those who have been killed by Christians in the name of Christianity in the course of enterprises such as these, the numbers easily run into the millions, and possibly into the tens of millions.

        • The_Monk

          Your list has a lot of problems, doesn’t it? The two big ticket items are #1 and #5.
          #1. The Crusades were a defensive action taken after more than four hundred years of Muslim aggression and murderous depredations. The Muslim armies slaughtered unarmed Christians for centuries before there was any armed response. And the response was appropriately proportional.
          #5. The problems in Croatia and Serbia are not one sided. Anyone who claims that the problems are one sided is an intellectual fraud.
          Further, nearly all of your examples are of people doing things while calling themselves Catholic. The Northern Irish violence is between pro-British forces who call themselves ‘Protestants’ and communist forces who call themselves ‘Catholics’.
          I find your charges to be misleading and without merit when taken in context….

          • Nestorian

            When I speak of Christians killing in the name of Christianity, this applies not merely to Catholics, but to all Christians. Thus, during the great wars of religion in Europe from the 16th to 18th centuries, both Protestants and Catholics are guilty of killing each other in Christ’s name. And when Orthodox Serbs and Catholic Croats alternately kill each other over the centuries, or when Protestant and Catholic Irishmen do so alternately, it is the same thing – Christians killing in the name of Christ. All of it is an outrage – by Christians – against the very ideals for which Christ himself died.

            The same applies to the Crusades – it is a case of Christians killing in the name of Christ. There are no ifs, ands, or buts about this basic fact.

            Whether this was morally defensible killing in the name of Christ or not is another question – certainly it was not in the case of the 4th Crusade, when Catholics killed the very Christian residents of Constantinople whom they were supposedly there to defend. One is hard-pressed to think about a more outrageous betrayal than the 4th Crusade in all of history.

            That the other crusades were morally defensible is for the most part also not the case, as the actions of the Crusaders (as opposed to their words) revealed many of them to be motivated by venal, selfish motives of self-aggrandizement, rather than the noble motives they hypocritically professed upon first embarking on their expeditions.

            The Inquisition (Medieval and Spanish) was an institution that lasted for the better part of a thousand years, well into the 19th century, covering virtually all of Southern Europe. It was a terrifying abomination from beginning to end – a horrific abuse of a fraudulently claimed divine authority, which doled out protracted torture, horrific deaths by burning alive and other equally horrific means, lifelong confinement in the most hideous of dungeons, and the like, upon thousands and thousands of hapless, helpless, terrified soul who got caught up in its clutches. Entire societies lived in daily terror of stepping out of line for centuries because of the omnipresent threat of falling prey to its horror.

            The Inquisition is, in fact, the most perfect earthly example I can think of of a totalitarian rule of society, since the Papacy and the Church claimed the right to regulate, and ruthlessly to punish and exterminate, even the inmost thoughts of its hapless Catholic subjects.

            And this most hellish of institutions persisted in existence for centuries and centuries – all in the name of Christ. It is frightening even to read about, but any Christian who feels emboldened to engage in violent antagonism against Islam owes it to him- or herself – before God and conscience – to carefully research these horrors, and contemplate the truly hellish depths to which violence in the name of religion can sink.

            A very good historical source for this is Henry Lea’s three-volume History of the Medieval Inquisition, as well as his four volume History of the Spanish Inquisition. These are, in fact, considered standard historical works on the subject to this day, though they were published in the late 19th century. They are all now easily accessible for free over the web via books.google.com and the like.

            • The_Monk

              If you reject facts and reason, there is nothing anyone can do to help you. Go in peace…

    • We heard this specious reasoning last week from another sympathizer spewing relativism from a “high horse”.

      Of course I have no argument with the claim that Nestorianism is a morally and spiritually inferior cult, and that it is founded upon a gigantic fraud – either at demonic or at human instigation, or some combination of the two.

      Consider that the sole adherent here, invades a board under multiple names to evade eviction for sole surpose of agitation, positing an incessant arrray of male fide arguments. Apparently other heresies countenance variations Taqquiya as well
      .
      The simple reality is that when Christians go radical, they build orphanages, hospitals and cemetaries, when Muslims go radical they fill them.

      • michael susce

        “The simple reality is that when Christians go radical, they build orphanages, hospitals and cemetaries, when Muslims go radical they fill them”. Of course, I agree. However, I have come to the conclusion that Christians are battling two fronts, one Islam which is somewhat distant in America and the radical secular Taliban in this country attempting to establish a secular atheocracy which is closer and is beginning to raise it’s violence through legal recourse. After the revelation of systematic ruthlessness of the 20th century via the atheistic trinity of Stalin, Hitler (neo-paganism) and Mao, I wonder if we have a better chance of converting Muslims than the atheistic seculars in our midst. After all, beheading children and putting to the flame enemies is justified by the clean and antiseptic act of abortion. I am coming to the conclusion that Christians are allotted one killing of a human being….that is ordered by Christ and St. Paul…. to die to self…This is what I struggle with..Of all the wonderful truth that is revealed in these articles and comments it is becoming abundantly clear that we must become saints….regardless of the consequences to ourselves. Truth in and of itself is not enough… Reading the Acts of the Apostles is quite revealing and at the same time a book that is not referred to often. I understand why now….

      • Philip Lishman

        “The simple reality is that when Christians go radical, they build orphanages, hospitals and cemetaries, when Muslims go radical they fill them.” RT

    • Except that while one may fraudulently kill in the name of Christianity, one is authorized to kill in the name of Islam. Nowhere does Christianity authorizes the killing of others to spread the Faith, unlike the Koran.

  • gsk

    I spoke to Muslim women at Yale, and they were incensed when I insisted that the Angel Gabriel waited for Mary’s response to his invitation to bear Jesus. The Quran version is flat and authoritarian: a child can be born of a virgin because Allah can do whatever he wants. Free will is notoriously absent. Bibles are forbidden because they show the dignity of persons, and the Islamic response will always be that the texts were corrupted–and that opinion from those who believe that the Virgin Mary was Moses’ sister [sigh].

    http://feminine-genius.com/a-christian-response-to-islam

    • The_Monk

      Also, it is forbidden that the Quran be translated into any language other than the original. Few Muslims – very, very few – have ever actually read it….

      • St JD George

        They are in good company, many who sit in the pews every Sunday never have either, and many aren’t even aware of what the gospel or homily was 5 minutes after leaving.

        • AnneM040359

          Yep, even when Bible study groups or Bible-related enrichment courses are offered at the local parishes, and in a special way, during Lent which starts a week from today.

          • St JD George

            I attended a lecture recently on the church’s teaching on immigration that was given by my parish priest but was an event sponsored by the archdiocese and was shocked to only see a few dozen attend. More recently he gave a series of informal discussions he called “A Catholic Approach to …” just in our parish and I think only about a dozen could be bothered to attend (we’re a good size). It did open my eyes to the lack of zeal and vibrancy. Maybe not, maybe everyone already knows all that and I’m just eager to learn playing catch up.

          • St JD George

            I know, I’m excited. Our church is sponsoring a Living the Eucharist program and happily quite a large number enrolled to participate. If you don’t hear from me though, it’s because of the Lenten sacrifice I revealed yesterday.

      • AnneM040359

        I have seen some English translations of the Koran at a local bookstore that I go from time to time.

        • The_Monk

          As have I, but Muslims do not consider those “real” Qurans….

          • AnneM040359

            Yep, those are for us “infidals”.

      • msmischief

        You can translate it. They are not, however, the Quran itself; they are considered commentaries.

        • Mary

          Yes but they can’t read ‘real Quran’s’ in ‘real Arabic’ in the same way we can’t read medieval english that well. No modern Arab speaker could understand 6th century Arabic….its a smokescreen excuse to protect that authenticity and specialness of the book.

          The Koran is like the Finnish language a hybrid of every heresy of the time, paganism, Judaic themes and Christian concerns.

          The earliest inscription in Islam is inside the Dome of the Rock, late 7th century…worth reading. Its main concern is that Allah hath no Son. Arianism? Also its anti-Christ because it denies overtly Christ coming in the flesh. Liberal secularism is its strange twin…born from Islam’s theological implant into the West through Ockham.

          What we have as faithful Catholic Christians in this time is the ultimate pincer movement by Satan….liberal secularist West enabling its strange twin Islam to take the spiritual place of Christianity. Liberal Christians like Obama are enablers also.

          The synod on the family is so important because it manifests the secularisation within the hierarachy of the Church who in a way will cause…if they succeed….the implosion of Christian morality and by impact Christology…and the Church will be defenceless to join the secularisation project or be ‘irrelevant’ and thereby sack itself from orthodoxy. This will mean that Islam alone will be the last one standing in believing what it preaches and the spiritually disenfranchised post-moderns will flock to convert.

          This is a very serious time for the Church.

    • “and they were incensed when”

      I think Michelle Malkin described this perfectly when she described Islam as the religion of “perpetual indignation”.

    • msmischief

      What does that have to do with anything? Allah can do whatever he wants and therefore he could decree that the Angel Gabriel waited for Mary’s response to his invitation to bear Jesus.

      Of course, this is the religion that insists that God MUST act capriciously and not produce orderly laws of nature, and calls that “God is not bound.”

    • Mary

      That’s very interesting. Yes Islam is a false religion and if you take away its polemics against Christianity and Judaism there isn’t much left. Yes, as you say no anthropology and false freedom…its deterministic law which makes a monster of God and we his witless flunkies. The abyss between God and man is not overcome by any law in Islam…I don’t know why they follow it to the letter….after all Allah’s will is utterly arbitrary….in the end Allah doesn’t have to concede anything to the followers of Islam Allah could say quite freely that the Koran is nonsense and Islam a joke.

      It has no Covenant you see….though God of course is utterly free to do whatever He wills He loves us covenantally and He himself ensures the fidelity of the Covenant in Christ….we just need to accept Christ and participate in His sacramental life of charity.

      • gsk

        “I don’t know why they follow it to the letter.”

        They do so because it is a cult. Look at any serious studies of cult-like behaviour, and you will see the characteristics. This assessment has nothing to do with the creed (yes, it’s so easy to get distracted by the theology and reasonableness of Islam) but with the means of enforcing conformity to the group.

        We need to get past the squeamishness that attaches to the word. Many very smart people get sucked into cults, because high-pressure groups have specific mechanisms that dismantle critical thinking skills. This is a textbook cult that has flourished for 1400 years.

        http://www.icsahome.com/articles/onusingtermcult
        [note that the application is my own, and not that of ICSA]

  • The_Monk

    William Kilpatrick – your take on the problematic issue of Islam in juxtaposition with our Catholic beliefs is both insightful and comprehensive. My personal hope is that we begin to offer prayers for our friends who are part of the congregation of the heresy called Islam. When I was young, at the end of Mass we would offer prayers for the conversion of Russia. It would be well to revive that practice with the Islamic world in mind….

    • BXVI

      Honestly this is exactly the kind of thing we need to jolt people into reality. I’d like to see the Pope command that a payer for conversion of the Muslims be prayed at the conclusion of every Mass, worldwide, for the foreseeable future. And the power of prayer is undeniable.

      • The_Monk

        Amen!

  • ColdStanding

    Mo, if semi-illiterate or not, certainly new how to exploit the character flaws of fallen man. Most people of his time realized that if you stick someone with a sword, the person so struck will die. Mo took it a step further, when he realized that if you have a trouble maker in your group and you stick him with a sword in front of the others in the group, then you will likely have fewer trouble makers in the future. The therapy might take a time or two.

    Therefore, Mo tells stories that are patently false to see which one of his companions will call him on it. The wiseguy who gets it, gets it. Capisce?

    Fast forward, the system, patterned on its founder, is holding. Any one that dares to question what Mo said will get it. Enough people are taking the deal that Mo laid out for the willing to cause all kinds of problems. However, information technology will do a lot to overcome this. Mo’s system depends upon simultaneously controlling the narrative and those to whom the narrative is given, with those that won’t play ball weeded out. (Weeding! Forgive me for equating the barbaric depravity of one man to another as “weeding”)

    It is, quite simply, a pirate’s creed. It is evil.

    Sadly, there is quite a taste for evil these days.

    • St JD George

      Darn you, know you have me humming “Yo ho, yo ho, it’s a pirate’s life for me”.

      • ColdStanding

        Oh, it slips the mind, what is the creed that almost all modern pirates (I’m talking on the high seas) follow?

        Tip of the tongue… it will come to me.

  • Peschken

    I wished Catholics would spent that much time, effort and writings on the need to learn about Catholicism and what our church teaches.. and then to actively apply this in their daily live.. and the world would be a different place!

    • AnneM040359

      …..And in doing so, become missionaries to bring that needed Gospel to the nations!

  • cestusdei

    My rule of thumb with “prophets” is to ask the question: what did they get out of it? If they got power, money, or sex then they are invariably a false prophet. If they didn’t it doesn’t mean they were a true prophet, but at least you can’t rule them out immediately.

    • St JD George

      In Jesus as in the blessed Trinity lies all the power so what are you saying (ha). That is a good rule of thumb, I like it. Also applies to prideful politicians who are full of a pathological messianic complex.

  • Timothy Furnish

    Excellent piece, Mr. Kilpatrick. But as a Lutheran Christian with a PhD in Islamic history, I must ask: why limit this to Catholics? Your advice applies equally well to other Christians.

    • It does, but this brings up a question. I must ask, for 500 years, Protestants, including Luther have reserved no venom or hyperbole in referring to Rome. Will other Christians listen?

      • Timothy Furnish

        You paint with a rather broad brush toward Protestants, good sir. And I might reply that there are many Catholics who disparage Protestants in like fashion. It’s about time that all Christians pulled together against the Islamic threat, instead of adducing outdated fights from half a millennium ago.

        • Painting with a broad brush implies an unwarranted generality. Show me the Catholic disparagements you claim exist. Unity is a laudable goal, but syncretism is too steep a price.

          • Timothy Furnish

            “Outside the Church there is no salvation”

            846 How are we to understand this affirmation, often repeated by the Church Fathers?335 Re-formulated positively, it means that all salvation comes from Christ the Head through the Church which is his Body:

            Basing itself on Scripture and Tradition, the Council teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation: the one Christ is the mediator and the way of salvation; he is present to us in his body which is the Church. He himself explicitly asserted the necessity of faith and Baptism, and thereby affirmed at the same time the necessity of the Church which men enter through Baptism as through a door. Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it.336

            Sounds to me like the official position of the RC church is that I, as a Lutheran, am still not saved so long as I refuse to join with Rome.

            • Lynda Marie

              Seriously? I think that only applied before people could read/have Bibles and believe in Jesus on their own. At that time, I’m sure that what they meant is that no one would know Jesus outside the Church. Now we know that’s possible because the Bible is available to all. Just think of the apostles and how no one would know the teachings of Jesus and everything about Jesus outside of them, and them spreading the teachings. It’s different now.

        • Lynda Marie

          I agree 100%!!!! It’s time those get rid of that “old thinking”. You are so right that it’s time ALL Christians pulled together.
          We know now that the beast, the anti-christ, and 666 mark of the beast (convert or die) are Islam and that the whore is Saudi Arabia, the 7 hills by the Red Sea.

    • Lynda Marie

      Timothy, lets not limit it to Catholics then, don’t whine, join in….lets all work together in this, we need a strong, united Christian body to beat this, we are all Christ’s body, support each other, for Jesus, for God’s glory!

      • Lynda Marie

        Oh, I see you already mentioned that previously, sorry….

  • Jacqueleen

    The Catholic Church 50+ years ago placed emphasis on Mercy, Mercy, Mercy and removing the Catechism from our Catholic Schools and CCD classes has resulted in a lack of knowledge of the faith and the fall away from a religion that truly doesn’t matter. If God is so merciful, He will forgive everyone at the Gate! So, why bother to get up on a Sunday morning and prepare the family for Sunday Mass? So, why bother to go to Confession if God is so merciful, He will forgive us all of our sins and we do not need to tell another human our sins. So, why bother to marry when I can have my cake and eat it too because God will forgive my fornication when I get to the Gate! So, why bother to pray, God is merciful and understands how busy our lives are and He will save us all anyway! So, go ahead and enjoy life and sin because there are no consequences to sin and therefore there is no Purgatory and a merciful God would not send us to hell. We will sail right into Heaven because God loves us so much. The Catholic Church has become the invisible church to many, unfortunately with little respect from the majority. If only 20% of Catholics attend church, what does that make the 80% who stay home, LUKEWARM??? Are they Catholics?

    It would behoove the Catholic Church to publicly admit its errors of post Vatican II, removing the Catechism from Schools & CCD, Liberalizing the Seminaries, removing the Tabernacle as the central focus in Church, removing the Amen at the end of the Our Father, changing the Liturgy of the Mass, just to name a few. This would renew its credibility. Then, strongly preach the truth!!!! This must precede evangelization!

    Evangelists must offer something attractive to the potential convert….TRUTH. They should start with the lukewarm Catholics that Jesus wants to spew from His mouth. Then,
    the Muslims that I know, DO INDEED know the story of Christ. In fact, they enjoy Christmas! Islam has Sharia Law which is not very tolerant and it can be said that
    it is very violent. In reality, Satan has a stronghold on many!

    OUR GOD IS MERCIFUL IF WE, WITH A CONTRITE HEART, ASK FOR HIS MERCY!
    OUR GOD IS A GOD OF JUSTICE IF WE DO NOT ASK HIM FOR HIS MERCY WITH A CONTRITE HEART.

    • BXVI

      Two things that will never defeat Islam:
      1. Secularism.
      2. Watered-down, namby-pamby Christianity that seeks to conform to the spirit of the age.
      Unfortunately, 90% of people in the West fit one of these two categories. In fact, the vast majority of Catholics in the West fit one of these two categories. Which is why we are losing and will continue to lose.

      • Jacqueleen

        The stage is being set for the second coming of Christ riding on the cloud, shining like the sun whence the trumpets call!!!!

  • BXVI

    Bravo! Bravo! Bravo! This series by Mr. Kilpatrick puts meat and bones on what I have been thinking and saying for quite some time now.

    Pope Benedict clearly saw the problem and tried to start moving the Church in this direction, but I believe the violent reaction of the Muslim world to his Regensburg address (not to mention the mountain of criticism heaped on him by Western elites – including Cardinal Bergoglio) caught him by surprise and he seemed to avoid directly taking on Islam in any overt sense after that. In part, I think he believed that a secular, de-Christianized West would never be able to defeat Islam, so he spent the rest of his papacy focused on the dire need for re-Christianization of a West suffering under “cultural amnesia” and the “dictatorship of relativism.”

    I am afraid, however, that the approach Mr. Kilpatrick proposes will have to wait until we have a different Pope. I just can’t see Pope Francis going in this direction.

    • AnneM040359

      Look for Christians from the countries that the Church in the west sent missionaries to bring the Gospel of Christ, will in turn end up bringing the Gospel of Jesus back to the west.

    • AnneM040359

      I would say that Pope Francis will most likely do what Pope Benedict did and in a few years step down himself once he reaches 80.

      • jacobhalo

        I hope so.

        • AnneM040359

          From what I have heard, he has one remaining lung and he is 78.

    • Mary

      I agree. But in the end its always ‘gird your loins’. Don’t worry about the Pope…the important thing is to put on Christ and acquire the spiritual armour of that wonderful image ‘the soldier of Christ’. That is an every day work and not for the faint hearted…then see what comes to you in your life. I think this is how the persecuted Christians survive…martyrdom and faith under fire is a Grace….not a decree from any Pope. Pope’s who don’t please us will be the way the enemy undermines us from our own task at hand….trust is in Christ who does not fail the Church….that does not mean that Rome as such will survive. We have to be able to go alone in an isolated sense. That whole Church is with each Baptised who appropriates their faith. Interesting times. I wonder at saints like my favourite St Margaret Clitherow…who survived among apostasy with nothing but an occasional clandestine priest….all the Churches were not open for her, only the jail and death. But still Grace held her in the faith. Amazing.

    • Lynda Marie

      We don’t have time to wait for a different Pope! This is so urgent as the Muslim world is growing so fast and causing atrocity and influence everywhere, particularly with governments and the UN and NATO. Turkey is part of NATO, watch out!
      Mr.Kilpatrick offers a solid, yet loving solution that I’m sure Pope Francis can appreciate and absorb.

  • How about this: ISIS explains and justifies the Crusades.

  • Dick Prudlo

    Suggesting that the human writers of the Bible were limited due to a similar limitation of scientific “knowledge,” must mean they made it up to fill in the blanks. I am thinking Mr. Kalb is restricted to the accepted view of scientists (most who do not share his Faith), and why is that? They can not prove that the earth is not the center of the universe, nor can they prove, no matter how very hard they have tried, that the earth somehow appeared billions and billions of years ago and somehow shit happened, or that the Earth moves at all.

    Maybe a small point of issue with an excellent article and argument for Catholics, but I will not give in to this recent argument of the Bible not being a science book, well, neither are most science books scientific.

  • Craig Roberts

    In a world where most Catholics don’t know their own Bible does anyone expect Catholics to study the Koran? Really?

    • bonaventure

      The author’s point was clear, that Catholics must know their Bibles and the Koran, if they are to have a credible voice in any discussion about Islam. But if they don’t know anything about Islam (like most Church leaders), then they should remain silent, rather than repeating lies.

      • Craig Roberts

        Anyone who has faith and knows the Bible does not need to study the Koran to defend themselves against anti-Christian persecution. All that is required is the courage of your convictions.
        Church leaders are simply to cowardly to say that Christ is the way, the truth, and the life, without qualifications, buts, and apologies.

        • bonaventure

          I wholeheartedly agree with you. But it would be even better if they could also articulate a clear response to the lies of Islam. After all, apologetics belong to the best of the Christian tradition.

          • Craig Roberts

            Well said. It is too bad that apologetics has degenerated into mere apologies.

            • jacobhalo

              this pope is against apologetics.

              t

    • Lynda Marie

      Yes, Catholics should really dedicate more time to reading their Bible on their own, but please remember the whole mass is made of Bible verses, both old and new, and worship of Jesus, and that the gospel is read every week. Still, Bible reading on their own time is extremely important.

  • douglas kraeger

    As a suggested approach to helping Muslims question what they believe and why and for others to consider improving: Please consider: We can know there must be a Creator God, therefore we can also know that God must keep any and all promises He makes and reveals to men because He can only have one, single, infinite, eternal, always in the present tense thought and He can not lie. Therefore we ask the Question (for all who accept the Book of Genesis as coming from God, which is all Jews, Christians and Muslims): Since you believe that God must fulfill any and all promises He makes and reveals to men and you accept that God made two promises in Genesis 17:20+21; What is the verifiable evidence you rely on to show that it is not possible that God will first fulfill His promise of Gen. 17:21 and then, when the descendants of Ishmael find the Messiah promised through Isaac and the Jewish prophets, and live the way the Messiah teaches, then God will fulfill His promise of Gen. 17:20 and make of the descendants of Ishmael a truly great nation, a nation of holy people who love everyone whom God loves, a nation far more holy than most “Christians” seen today? Or to ask it another way: Why is it not possible that God has fulfilled His promise of Gen 17:21 and is waiting for the children of Ishmael to seek the Messiah so that He can fulfill His promise of Gen. 17:20 and make of Ishmael a truly great nation (which his twelve sons were not because they fought among themselves in the desert)?

  • Craig Roberts

    I suppose we should have had Patton and Macarthur read Mien Kampf before we expected them to fight the Nazis. I don’t think JPII needed to study Marx to refute communism. The point is, to attempt to understand evil before you resist it, is a losing battle.

    • Indeed, the devil is in dialectics.

  • Craig Roberts

    Martians Attack! All we need to do now is figure out the flaws in their ideology so that we can undermine their beliefs.

  • Mary

    I think Islam hangs itself on its own petard. The absolute unfetterered and arbitrary will of Allah cannot be bound. In effect this means that Allah doesn’t have to honour anything…nothing of Islam of the Koran. He could disown Muhammed and take up with Buddhists. Its theological whimsy…nothing has any reality at all except Allah’s will….there’s no pleasing Allah at all in any meaningful way unless He wills to be pleased….about anything….hey Allay hates Jews in the Koran and loves them next Summer.

    Allah has no Covenant.

    Aquinas was good on this…while of course God can do whatever God wills He doesn’t go against His Covenant with us fulfilled in Christ because God is love and love’s object is us in Christ…..here the Trinity and creation make enormous sense in fidelity and goodness…we can trust God in Christ….the Most Holy Trinity…absolutely because God can’t oppose Himself…Three in One. Absolute unity….and we are in Christ sacramentally so we are in that Covenant of love and we have true peace being truly one with God.

    I think there is an interesting precedent for action in the Old Testament. I may have this wrong but here the Kings of Israel are surrounded by enemies and seeking the advice of the prophets. I think the upshot is that if we are absolutely faithful in Christ then God fights our battles….if we are unfaithful we fight our own and God brings the good out (the remnant) from that. It seems to me that the Christian nations have utterly abandoned Christ and reduced him to do-goodism….we are on our own I think though those who are faithful will endure and receive all necessary Graces and God will bring the good forward. It is always since the fall of Jerusalem apocalyptic God only knows if we are heading for the big finale…though it doesn’t matter except to the curious…in effect fidelity is individual in the first instance…from the Reformation or even the Crusades to the French Revolution….the death defying challenges are never more awesome in the personal sense than any of these.

  • Mrs_Snoopington

    Mr. Kirkpatrick: A well thought-out piece. It’s sad because it’s too late to implement your policy suggestions. You are most likely aware that the Ecumenical crazy train left the station after Vatican II. The U.S. Bishops have met for many years with Muslim leaders over ecumenical policy. Their latest topic: intermarriage between Muslims and Catholics. The bishops acknowledge that in such a marriage, when the husband is Muslim, the children will be raised as Muslims. usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/ecumenical-and-interreligious/interreligious/islam

    A second fruit of Vatican II’s Ecumenism experiment is the suppression of proselytizing. Bringing people to Catholicism is not encouraged or practiced by the Vatican, bishops, et al.

    My third point is that Catholics like myself have studied Islam through a book, “Inside Islam: A Guide For Catholics” by convert Daniel Ali and Robert Spencer. This book needs to be distributed widely.

    I hope you watch this well-produced informative video, This Is Islam! It explains what the West is up against: when a Western country has a Muslim population over 2%, Islam becomes a threat to that country.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lxdoztoBEuc

  • St JD George

    Bill, I thought you might enjoy this article which I think beautifully compliments yours:

    While the U.S. government continues to search for an information campaign that can effectively weaken ISIS and other radical groups, Christians have been waging a surprisingly successful war of ideas against radical Islam.

    The New York Times recently published an article on an initiative by Maj. Gen. Michael K. Nagata, commander of American Special Operations forces in the Middle East, which brought together a group of experts to figure out a strategy for weakening the Islamic State’s appeal. But according to the article, General Nagata expressed a dismay that has become a common theme of the Obama administration: “We have not defeated the idea. We do not even understand the idea.”

    The State Department’s counter-terrorism messaging initiative equally fails to inspire confidence. The Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications (CSCC) was created in 2011. With a budget of about $5 million and a team of 50 as of 2014, it works to counter the tweets and Facebook posts of jihadists. It is best known for its campaign, Think Again Turn Away. Its current Facebook page, which has 10,455 likes, features the question, “ISIS: Why is Your ‘Caliph’ Hiding?” It maintains a count of the days since Baghdadi was last seen (220 as of February 9, 2015).

    But the campaign has about as much subtlety as the “Just Say No” campaign against drugs. As Jacob Silverman, an author who writes about social media, noted, “State’s messages usually arrive with all the grace of someone’s dad showing up at a college party.”

    A third key component of the U.S. government’s messaging campaign is carried out by the Broadcasting Board of Governors, which oversees Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, the Middle East Broadcasting Networks (Alhurra TV and Radio Sawa), Radio Free Asia, and the Office of Cuba Broadcasting (Radio and TV Martí). According to the BBG’s website, their mission is to inform, engage and connect people around the world in support of freedom and democracy. They have a massive budget with which to carry out that mission–a hefty $733 million last year. But a 2014 audit of the BBG by the State Department’s Inspector General revealed fraudulent and wasteful purchasing practices, which lead Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee to conclude that the BBG’s “wasteful spending, non-competitive contracting practices, and violations of current law point to an organization without accountable leadership.” Rep. Royce went on to say, “For the sake of our national security interests, it is critical that U.S. international broadcasting be effective; that is why we have to scrap this broken agency.”

    Thus, to the extent that the United States government is even engaging in the war of ideas, it is not doing a very effective job. As Robert Reilly, a former director of the Voice of America has said, “…the U.S. government has failed to show up for the war of ideas. Strategic communication or public diplomacy, the purpose of which is to win such wars, is the single weakest area of U.S. government performance since 9/11.”

    Enter the Christians. With limited dollars and a limited goal, American Christians are having far-reaching success that few outside their circle know about. Their goal is to bring the message of Christianity to as many people as possible. That used to mean sending missionaries to far-flung and often dangerous places. But increasingly, Christian groups are putting the tools of social media and technology to work for their cause. And unlike the U.S. government’s efforts, their messaging is having a profound resonance in the Middle East and Africa.

    Take, for example, Isik Abla, a charismatic and bubbly Turkish woman who converted to Christianity from Islam and now broadcasts daily into Muslim-majority countries. Isik’s book, I Dreamed Freedom: An Abused Muslim Girl’s Journey to Find Freedom, describes her dysfunctional family, rife with addiction, abuse and infidelity, and her eventual conversion to Christianity. Today, she shares that story openly with Muslims, and rather than chastising them with messages like “Think Again, Turn Away,” she offers messages of empathy, hope, and love. A recent post on her Facebook page, says, “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” She uses hashtags that include #GiveittoGod and #YouareLoved!! It is a message people are responding to well: her Facebook page has 1,654,111 likes.

    “Brother Rachid” is another popular convert to Christianity who is reaching out to Muslims. Born to a devout Muslim family in Morocco, today Rachid hosts a weekly call-in show entitled “Daring Questions,” in which he challenges Muslims to think hard about their faith, and he debates Muslim scholars. Rachid’s programs air by satellite all over the Middle East and North Africa, Europe, North America and Australia. On one website, “Daring Questions” was streamed 10,763,988 times. On the same website, his program was downloaded 1,648,217 times. This would suggest that Muslims are hungry for meaningful discussion and debate about their faith.

    Isik Abla and Brother Rachid are engaging in the war of ideas not only in Muslim countries, but also here at home. After President Obama said in September 2014 that “ISIS is not Islamic,” Rachid posted a YouTube video, where he challenged the president:

    I ask you, Mr. President, to stop being politically correct — to call things by their names. ISIL, Al Qaeda, Boko Haram, Al Shabab in Somalia, the Taliban, and their sister brand names, are all made in Islam. Unless the Muslim world deals with Islam and separates religion from state, we will never end this cycle.

    It is Christians who understand– perhaps better than anyone else– that this is not a war for territory or treasure, but for hearts and souls. It is not a war that can be won on the battlefield. Unfortunately, the majority of those currently in charge of America’s messaging campaign are post-modern secular bureaucrats. They cannot grasp the profound pull religion can have on men’s hearts.

    This is not to suggest that the State Department should get into the preaching business or that Christianity is the answer to all of Islam’s ailments. But it is to say that the Islamic world is deep in crisis, as virtually any Muslim can attest. There are wide-ranging debates going on across the Muslim world over the future of Islam. In a recent speech, Egyptian President Sisi admonished the scholars of Al Azhar University to help bring about a revolution in Islam. The United States, in contrast, merely denies that the crisis has anything to do with Islam and offers a gentle hand-slap to would be jihadists: #ThinkAgainTurnAway.

    Those currently in charge of America’s information campaign do not take seriously the ideas driving the enemy, and therefore they do not wade into the deep waters where the real battle is taking place—in the world of ideas and beliefs. Christians, on the other hand, know exactly what this battle is about, and they are more than willing to go where the State Department fears to tread.

    Katie Gorka is the president of the Council on Global Security. @katharinegorka

  • John

    http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2015/02/14/397504/Media-promote-Islamophobia-in-US

    Kilpatrick’s insane hatred of and propaganda against Muslims that he spews on this site is responsible for these murders of innocent Muslims. Listen to Barrett.

  • Lynda Marie

    Mr. Kilpatrick, excellent article, and it speaks perfectly everything I and many others have also studied, learned and felt about Islam vs. Christianity (and the rest of the world), which is terrifying. You speak the truth and give great suggestions for solution. I certainly hope, and urgently recommend, that you bring your articles and information to the attention of the Pope and to the Bishops. The sooner the better! The Catholic Church needs to get on board with this as it (the CC) is very powerful and all eyes are watching, and people are very confused about this issue of Islam, and confused about the guidance on it so far, as you mention in your article. The Protestants are already on board, mostly, but Pope Francis is lagging quite a bit on this subject, either innocently or deliberately for good reason, but he’s the one the world will listen to! I believe your clarity, knowledge and strategy are required to turn this around! Keep on! God bless you!

  • Susan White

    You’re correct in saying we need a new policy toward Islam. Unfortunately, I do not have my catholic catechism handy to quote from, but I know a big part of the problem is what THAT book (catechism) said about Muslims in the first place. Trust me, it’s a lot DIFFERENT from traditional church teaching.

  • Phil

    “So, one of the first orders of business is to convey the story of Jesus, whether through the Gospels or in film or in simplified story versions.” How about a satellite broadcasting evangelism and catechesis to the Muslim world?

  • Lynda Marie

    Instead of congratulating Muslims on revering the same Jesus we do (it’s not the same Jesus),

    If he (Muhammad) is discredited, Islam is discredited.
    I recently spoke with a catholic apologist and was inquiring about the Islam teaching of Jesus, for example, the speaking of Jesus from the cradle, and he told me that is from the gnostic gospel of Thomas. He told me that Islams knowledge of Jesus is from the gnostic gospels and that they are heretical. He said that Islam is based on a mix of ancient Arabic paganism, Judiaism, and heretical Christianity.
    This right there would be one way to totally discredit Muhammad! (heretical Christianity)
    I think we (Christians) should have a campaign or logo type thing also, where we would promote a “Forgive Muhammad, Move on, Turn to Jesus” analogy, where we are being kind and compassionate towards the huge mistakes Muhammad made, but at the same time encouraging them to leave Islam without making it a big rebellious fight from them, while expressing that what they have learned from Muhammad is heretical Christianity. Easier to draw bees to honey than vinegar.
    Something to think about, who knows, that strategy might work.

  • Lynda Marie

    Oh, and another thing we should point out is that Muhammad, either didn’t know, or neglected to tell, that ALL gentiles are grafted into the tree!

  • Erika Allen

    I just LOVE this site

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