What do I know?
Like most other American Christians, I can’t claim to know much about Islam. I took a two-month class on the religion in college, and learned a bit about it in high school, but other than that, I have had no immersion into the religion, and only see it through the lens of the war.
But let’s focus on what we do know. Muhammad was a normal and pious man, born around 570 C.E., married to an older woman, living his life when the angel Gabriel came to him and ordered him to recite. The Qur’an is the result of this recitation from illiterate Muhammad. The Qur’an is the living word of God, similar to how Christ is the living word to the Christian God. Muslims worship only God, Islam means “submission to God,” and Muhammad was a prophet, just as Abraham, Jesus, and all the Old Testament prophets were.
Out of the Qur’an comes the Five Pillars. They are 1) Confessing faith in one God, 2) Prayer five times a day, 3) Alms-giving, 4) Fasting at Ramadan, and 5) hajj, which is a pilgrimage to Mecca, a historically relevant city to the Muslim faith.
Sunnis follow Muhammad’s example. Shiites follow Muhammad’s example but also, long ago, chose to follow the example of Muhammad’s descendants, like Ali, Muhammad’s son-in-law.
Jihad means “struggle.” It is not holy war, but it can be. It puts a name to the inner struggle each Muslim goes through to submit to God rather than follow their own ego.
Muslims believe that humans were created with fitra–a good framework everyone is born with, but that many people forget and get distracted from the true path. This negates the need for a Savior, unlike Christianity, which is a religion based on the saving blood of Christ. All one needs to do to be saved in the Islam faith is to follow the Five Pillars.
Treatment of Women
We look at Muslim women covered head to toe, living under strict rules and say the religion and culture is oppressing them. Muslims look at American women wearing next to nothing on TV and billboards, putting all their worth in their bodies, and say American culture and Christianity are objectifying and oppressing their women. Both sides argue that their women are better off.
These differences will always bother the modern, democratic West as well as the traditional, Islamic East. It overlaps into all the question both religions ask: do we move forward with our ideas and technology, or do we try to go back to the way things were in the Bible or in Muhammad’s time? No text or living example can tell us what to do about stem cell research. The ambiguity in both Christian and Islam doctrine create unanswerable questions and unnegotiable relations between nations.
But we look at the stories of Muslim men killing their sisters because they were raped, or seen with a man who wasn’t part of the family, and we Westerners cannot condone it due to cultural difference. How can two civilizations agree to disagree when innocent people die? It is difficult to know when to intervene with another nation.
Yet, many Muslim women feel hopeful that they will attain more freedoms as time goes by. Only a hundred years ago in the US, women weren’t allowed to vote. How can we rush other cultures to catch up to us?
Violence and Jihad
Another reason Christians and Muslims can’t get along is violence. The unforgettable attacks and counterattacks of the last decade have shown us that people will fight and die for their religion. Christians and Americans question Muslims: how is your religion peaceful when so much war and killing has happened since its beginning?
Muslims turn around and ask us the same thing. Christianity has a history of violence, too. The US has turned to violence to get what it has wanted.
But why did Islam extremists attack us? As Western thought and modernism spread, along with American culture, to almost every nation, Muslims cannot help but see these new ways of thinking and living as imposing on their religious tradition. When we try to make their religious governments into democracies, they don’t see it as a gift of freedom, they see it as an attack on their religion. When the World Trade Centers fell down and fingers were pointed to Al Qaeda, Christians too felt their religion was being attacked. Christians tend to tie up their religious conviction with patriotism, and freedom has become a synonym for the American way of life.
The majority on both sides want peace. But both sides are also called to spread their religion to all nations. Dedicated Muslims and Christians alike will fight for what they believe is right. This is the cause of the clash.
What Can We Do?
We have only dipped into this topic, and have already found material for endless debate. What can we do with this rising issue?
- For now, the best thing to do is to learn as much as we can about Islam. We must stay updated on what is going on in Islamic countries and we must hush our assumptions and listen for awhile.
- Understand and remember that there is fear on both sides. Western culture has become a force, a blind pillar of great evil to many other cultures in the world. Muslims also understand little about us. They fear us as much as we may fear them.
- Find the beauty in Islam. Instead of looking for its faults, look at it for inspiration for your own faith. How do Muslims find happiness? Looking for the positive aspects, we will have more than enough to love about this other culture.
- Talk about it with as many people as possible. Really listen to what other people are saying, and be respectful while still arguing your point. Communication is always the first step, and most of the time, we cannot even manage that. Let’s start the discussion.
It’s ok everybody! He didn’t know it was hurting anyone… CRISIS AVERTED!
A German Catholic priest has admitted 280 counts of sexual abuse involving three boys in the past decade, saying he did not think he was doing harm.
Named only as Andreas L, the priest told a court in Braunschweig that he had first abused the nine-year-old son of a widowed woman parishioner.
After being banned by his diocese from making further contact with the boy, he abused two brothers, aged nine and 13.
Thousands of Germans have left the Church over revelations of abuse.
About 180,000 renounced their Catholicism in 2010, up 40% from the previous year, the German broadcaster Deutsche Welle reports.
Pope Benedict XVI, a German by birth, briefly met victims of sexual abuse by priests when he visited his native land in September, expressing “deep compassion and regret” at their suffering.
The priest on trial in Braunschweig faces a minimum prison sentence of between six and six and a half years.
He was arrested during the summer, after the mother of his earlier victim reported him to the authorities.
She acted after her son, now aged 17, revealed to her the abuse he had undergone for two years.
Sexual assaults were made on the three boys in various settings: at the priest’s house, on skiing holidays, in a parental home, on a trip to Disneyland Paris and at a church shortly before Mass.
The priest, who covered his face with a ring binder as he went into court on Thursday, said that while working in Braunschweig in 2004, he had begun a close relationship with the widow.
When Fr Andreas was moved to Salzgitter, her son often spent weekends with him, and the two would go off on short trips.
He would give the boy presents such as a camera and a mobile phone.
Abuse would often occur three times a weekend.
The priest said it had not been his intention to get close to the boy sexually, and that it had never occurred to him that he was doing harm.
When the mother began to suspect her son’s relations with the priest were inappropriately close, she approached the diocese of Hildesheim, the priest’s employer, which forbade further contact with the boy.
The abuse of the two brothers then began under similar circumstances, the court heard.
After contact with these victims was also forbidden, the priest approached his first victim again, writing him a letter.
It was then that the truth about the abuse emerged.
“It was never my impression that the children did not consent,” the priest was quoted as saying at the trial.
When asked in court if he was a paedophile, he replied, according to local newspaper Braunschweiger Zeitung: “It would be wrong to say No but to say Yes would also fall short of the truth.”
When a prosecutor asked him in court if he thought a “father would do this to his children”, he was silent.
About 2,800 pornographic images were found on the priest’s computer, including several of his victims.
Correspondents say members of the public who were in the courtroom watched the trial with faces rigid from shock.
They included parishioners from St Joseph’s Church in Salzgitter, where Fr Andreas had once been a respected priest, according to Germany’s Spiegel magazine.
Looks like that nutcase Harold Camping was right all along. Oh no! This isn’t looking good.
Psychologist Darrel Ray, who was raised in a conservative Christian household, conducted an online survey to determine the impact of religion on sexual satisfaction.
Ray set out to confirm whether his own experience- that his sex life vastly improved when he ditched religion- bore out among others. Ray, who authored the book The God Virus: How God Infects Our Lives and Culture, sought out 14,500 people who had once been religious or raised in a religious environment before becoming atheist or agnostic. What Ray discovered is that guilt seems to heavily influence sexual satisfaction in many specific subsets of Christianity.
The survey did not adhere to social science study guidelines, but Ray reported the results as follows:
Those who had been raised Mormon with their strict views about sex, showed the highest rating among those who had sexual guilt with an average score of 8.19 out of 10. Others with similar responses were Jehovah’s Witness, Pentecostal, Seventh Day Adventist and Baptist.
Catholics, on the other hand, rated their guilt at 6.34 and Lutherans came in at 5.88. Atheists and agnostics were the lowest in guilt at 4.71 and 4.81.
University of Texas at Austin associate professor Mark Regnerus dismissed the survey as biased and said Ray’s methods were “unscientific,” adding:
“It appears that it was a ‘fill it out if you want to’ kind of survey that is not random, not nationally representative, and relies entirely on self-selection,” he said. “In other words, they have data from people who felt like filling out a survey on atheism and sex. As a result, I am not surprised at their findings.”
Regnerus said the results were based on “hearsay or guesswork,” and opined:
“I don’t fault the author for running the survey he did, but it does display research methods which do not meet the standards of most published social science.”
Indeed, the results would have been a bit more interesting even just stacked against responses from religious folk who consider themselves sexually satisfied. Do you agree with Ray’s findings? Does religion or lack thereof significantly affect your view on sex?
Inhabitants of New Zealand, scheduled to be among the first to meet the apocalypse according to a US fundamentalist preacher, this morning confirmed they were still in existence as the appointed time was reached in their time zone.
There were also unconfirmed reports that Tonga has, thus far, failed to boil into the Pacific.
Eighty-nine-year-old tele-evangelist Harold Camping had prophesied that the “Rapture” would begin with powerful earthquakes at 6pm in each of the world’s regions, after which the good would be beamed up to heaven.
This morning, Kiwis confirmed there were no signs of the dead rising from the grave, nor of the living ascending into the clouds to meet Jesus Christ.
Twitter users were disappointed by the absence of Armaggedon.
Daniel Boerman said on Twitter, the micro-blogging website: “I’m from New Zealand, it is 6.06pm, the world has NOT ended. No earthquakes here, all waiting for the Rapture can relax for now.”
Gavin Middleton wrote: “Well it’s 13 minutes past the Rapture here in New Zealand. I’m still holding out hope for the trumpet call and the firey rain…”
Similarly, on the Pacific islands whose clocks ticked over to 6pm before the fateful hour hit New Zealand, there was no evidence of a “super horror story” predicted by Camping – no zombies, no true believers hurtling skywards, no arch-angels and no trumpeters.
A post on Godlike Productions, a website dedicated to conspiracy theories and UFOs, reported that Tonga, which reached 6pm one hour before New Zealand, was “still on the map”.
Likewise, no reports of chaos were heard from Christmas Island in Kiribati, where the super-earthquake was set to hit first.
Two minor earthquakes did hit the Pacific earlier in the day, measuring 3.1 and 4.8 and not triggering any tsunami warnings, but earthquakes of that magnitude are a regular occurrence in the region.
Vicky Hyde, spokesman for the New Zealand Skeptic Society said she was confident the Rapture was not imminent.
“These kind of predictions come up particularly in times of economic or social uncertainty – which is pretty much almost every year actually, you can track them, whether it’s commentary impacts or the rapture or giant space aliens or something.
“And the only thing they have in common is they are all wrong,” she said.
Camping spread his message of doom via Family Radio, which has a network of 66 radio stations and online broadcasts.
After today’s day of reckoning, he said non-believers would suffer through hell on earth until October 21, when God would pull the plug on the planet once and for all.
But after incorrectly predicting the end of the world in 1994, Camping’s prophecies have been met with derision. And it seems this time he was wrong again.
New York mayor Michael Bloomberg – who is Jewish and, according to Camping’s prophecy, therefore unlikely to be beamed up to sit alongside Jesus in heaven – said on his weekly radio show yesterday that he would partially suspend parking restrictions in New York if the world ended today.
David Speer, on Twitter, said: “Oh well no rapture. Just as well. New Zealand didn’t need that right now. Another delay to the filming of The Hobbit would’ve been terrible.”
FACTS about May 21, 2011
AT THIS TIME IN HISTORY THERE IS NO VALID, BIBLICAL EVIDENCE OR AUTHORITY WHICH INDICATES THAT WE CANNOT KNOW THE PRECISE DAY OF JUDGMENT. THE GREAT AMOUNT OF BIBLICAL SIGNS AND PROOFS ABSOLUTELY GUARANTEE THAT JUDGMENT DAY WILL BEGIN ON MAY 21st THIS YEAR.
Who or What is Family Radio?
Family Stations, Inc. is a non-profit, non-commercial, Christian radio network. It was established in 1958 with one FM station in the San Francisco bay area. Mr. Camping along with two other Christian men purchased KEAR with the sole intent of proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Today there are sixty-six owned and operated radio stations throughout the U.S.
Along with these domestic stations Family Stations also broadcasts its programming from numerous international broadcast facilities throughout the world.
Who is Harold Camping?
Harold Camping is the President and General Manager of Family Stations, Inc. He graduated from UC Berkeley in 1942 with a degree in civil engineering. Mr. Camping has been a full-time volunteer since Family Radio’s infancy and has never received compensation for his service.
What Qualifies Mr. Camping to make the pronouncement of May 21, 2011?
Mr. Camping has been a tireless student of the Bible for over five decades. The tens of thousands of hours he has spent analyzing the Bible has given him a unique perspective of the entirety of Scripture. He has dedicated his life to prepare himself to answer questions raised concerning God’s Word to man.
What is the Open Forum program?
What began approximately fifty years ago as simply an informational program for local bay area listeners, blossomed into what is known today as the Open Forum.
The Open Forum program airs Monday through Friday evenings by radio, shortwave, and the Internet. It is an anonymous call-in program designed to allow anyone to ask any question related to the Bible.
How can Family Radio be so bold as to declare a date for Christ’s return?
Given the overwhelming biblical evidence, the Family Stations, Inc. Board of Directors made a determination to dedicate all available resources to proclaim the warning of May 21, 2011. God has prepared Family Radio for this important time in history. Given the population of the world, radio and the internet are the perfect vehicles to deliver this warning.
What proof is there for the date of May 21, 2011?
The date May 21, 2011 was derived solely from evidence found in the Bible. Mr. Camping saw God had placed, in Scripture, many important signs and proofs. These proofs alert believers that May 21st of 2011 is the date Christ will return for His people and begin a period of the final destruction of the world.
What signs precede the Day of Judgment?
Jesus warned of several spiritual signs, such as the complete degradation of the Christian church, the devastating moral breakdown of society, the re-establishment of National Israel in1948, the emergence of the ‘Gay Pride Movement’, and the complete disregard of the Bible in all of society today as direct evidence of His return.
What is the Timeline of History?
The timeline of history is God’s predetermined timetable for the unfolding of God’s Gospel program for this world. In other words the length of time between the day God created this world in 11,013 B.C. and the day he will destroy it in October 21, 2011.
The discovery of this information built the foundation for what God would later reveal from the Bible as the date for the end.
Judgment Day on May 21, 2011 is the culmination of five decades of intensive biblical study by Mr. Camping and other bible teachers who have discovered the same biblical data.
What do past Biblical events have to do with today?
The precision with which God marked time in the past shows how precisely He keeps time and orders all the events of man.
God uses such phrases in the Bible as “in the fullness of time”, or “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.”
God declares in the Bible that “He hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation”
Just as all Biblical events took place exactly as God determined, so too will all future events take place as He has planned.
God knew before He created this world the exact day He would destroy it, the question is whether God reveals His plan to others.
Does God reveal his plan?
Yes! All true believers throughout the world are part of Christ’s family and therefore they not only belong to Jesus Christ, but they are one with Him as well.
Jesus calls His people His “friends” and “His beloved”
Jesus tells His “beloved” what He and His Father will do before They do it. Only, true believers are given spiritual eyesight to see and understand that they may be ready and prepared for the day of Christ’s return.
All those who are not “born again” do not possess the spiritual eyesight to see this evidence. Sadly, Christ will come upon them as a “thief in the night”.
Jesus speaks to his people through the pages of His word, the Bible.
His Spirit guides them “into all truth.”
“Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.”
God is the guardian of His secrets contained in the Bible and only He determines when or if His secrets are revealed. The Holy Spirit reveals to Christ’s people the information needful for them not only to be ready, but also to warn the world, Christ is returning.
Armed with the vital information needed to know the day of Christ’s return all true believers, as servants of God, are commanded to declare what Christ’s Spirit has revealed. They must “blow the trumpet” and warn the world, Judgment is coming.
Can all of mankind understand that Judgment Day is coming?
Just as wise men of old sought to see the young Jesus, so too will the wise of today seek Christ before the end. “a wise man’s heart (one who is born again) discerneth both time and judgment.”
God promises His people they will be like Noah who was aware and ready for the day when the floodwaters of destruction came upon this earth.
What will take place on May 21?
On May 21, 2011 two events will occur. These events could not be more opposite in nature, the one more wonderful than can be imagined; the other more horrific than can be imagined.
A great earthquake will occur the Bible describes it as “such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great.” This earthquake will be so powerful it will throw open all graves. The remains of the all the believers who have ever lived will be instantly transformed into glorified spiritual bodies to be forever with God.
On the other hand the bodies of all unsaved people will be thrown out upon the ground to be shamed.
The inhabitants who survive this terrible earthquake will exist in a world of horror and chaos beyond description. Each day people will die until October 21, 2011 when God will completely destroy this earth and its surviving inhabitants.
What is Family Radio specifically doing to warn the World?
Family Stations, Inc. broadcasts internationally in more than sixty-one different languages. Its programming can also be seen and heard worldwide on the Internet. Numerous billboards have been placed throughout the world warning of Judgment Day. While teams of volunteers carry literature concerning May 21 to many foreign countries. On top of this teams of RV caravans have been sent throughout the US to deliver this great message.
Why RV Caravans?
In September of 2010 Family Radio developed a plan to send out teams of caravans consisting of recreational vehicles. The caravans travel into towns and cities across the United States warning of Judgment Day, May 21, 2011. Each member of the caravan project is a volunteer, who has dedicated his or her life to warn the people of the U.S. and boldly proclaim this very important message.
Is Family Radio the only group declaring this message?
No! There are many other groups and individuals, sending out the warning of May 21, 2011. A growing groundswell of individuals and groups have become convicted of this message on each continent and are working hard to warn their neighbors, cities and countries.
Billboards have proven to be very effective. They are being placed in many U.S., Canadian and foreign cities, not only by Family Radio, but other organizations and individuals as well. Presently there are over 2000 billboards, posters, and bus posters throughout the world, with many going up weekly. The billboard messages are simple, and designed to clearly communicate the same message, Judgment Day May 21, 2011.
What are the listeners of Family Radio doing to prepare for that day?
Jesus gave explicit commands to His people as to how they are to behave until he returns. Jesus said “Go ye and teach all nations…” He also said to “occupy until I come.” Believers who believe Christ will return on May 21 are commanded to warn the world and encourage concerned people to pray for God’s mercy.
Will there be some sort of “gathering” before May 21, 2011?
No. This message is proclaimed to individuals not to specific groups, religions or nations. Family Radio is not a church or religion.
Each person must be “born again” in order to be ready for Christ’s return and be ready to be “caught up” wherever they live in this world.
Jesus said in Matthew 24:40-41 “Then shall two be in the field: the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left”
What if May 21 ends and nothing occurs?
The Biblical evidence is too overwhelming and specific to be wrong. Christ’s people can look with great confidence to this date because God promises His “beloved” He will not come upon them as a thief in the night.
God in His mercy has revealed the vital information needed to know the day. Judgment Day on May 21, 2011 will occur because the bible declares it. Anyone whom God has not saved will arrive at that day with no hope for salvation. God warns simply the “door will be shut.”
What should a person do when he or she hears this message?
Cry out to God for mercy and fully recognize you are a sinner. One must approach God with a broken and contrite attitude, because after all every human being, without exception, is guilty before God.
Only God decides whom He will save and it is only Christ’s ‘gift’ of salvation that can save one from destruction and the terrible events coming upon this world on May 21, 2011.
What do we say to all those who say Jesus will come as a thief in the night?
The Bible speaks of two kinds of people in the world. Those within God’s kingdom he calls his “beloved.” The other, much larger portion of the human race, God describes as those “without” or outside the kingdom of God.
Those “without” will say at the end of time “Peace and safety” These people will mistakenly believe all is well. But God warns, “then sudden destruction cometh upon them…”
The fact so many church leaders are insisting Christ will come as a “thief in the night” (that is, no one can know the day or the hour) is another very important Biblical ‘sign’ Christ’s return is very close. Far too many people mistakenly presume they are at “Peace” with God and therefore in “safety.”
Sadly, many assume no human being can know, because they mistakenly believe even Jesus himself does not know the day or hour of His own return.
The belief Christ will come “as a thief in the night” for everyone, including Christ’s people, is the foundational basis for which most Christians, including church leaders and pastors reject May 21, 2011.
However, God has written in His Word he will tell his people exactly what he plans before he brings it to pass:
“Surely the LORD GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.”
God’s “beloved” people are not in darkness that that day would come upon them as a thief in the night. God graciously has written in I Thessalonians 5 verse 4
“But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.”
What about all those in the past who predicted Jesus would come in their day?
Many religious groups and individuals throughout history have predicted Jesus’ return, but they were always wrong. No theologian, no matter how learned or intelligent, could know the day because God had not revealed it. The scriptural evidence needed to know the exact day could not be known before 1988, the year the ‘Church age’ ended. The Bible indicates prior to this year that date could not be known.
Many Church leaders of the past looked at political as well as natural events to prove their predictions and they were repeatedly wrong.
God is the guardian of His secrets. The words needed to know the time of the end “are closed up and sealed till the time of the end”
Only Christ Jesus, the “Lamb,” is able to unseal the Bible, and reveal what is needful to know the day and the hour of His return.
Didn’t Harold Camping say that the world would end in 1994?
In 1992 Mr. Camping wrote a book entitled 1994? In that book Mr. Camping highlighted the abundant evidence pointing to 1994 as a probable year of Christ’s return. Given the abundance of information pointing 1994 and the urgency of time, the book 1994? was written. Mr. Camping felt as a teacher, he must share the Biblical information he had found and warn the world.
Important subsequent biblical information was not yet known, so this book was incomplete. Mr. Camping warned there may be something he overlooked therefore the question mark was prominently placed on the title.
Mr. Camping wrote on pages 494 and 495 of the book 1994? he believed 2011 was the most probable year of Christ’s second coming. Given the fact 2011 is the 7000 year anniversary of the flood, but he misunderstood Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 24 verse 22 “except those days should be shortened”
At the time Mr. Camping concluded the period of “great tribulation” would be shortened from twenty three years, as the Bible teaches, to 2300 evening mornings or six and one third years. .
Mr. Camping wrote in 1994?:
“God appears to be declaring that this final tribulation period should be a certain length of time. If it were that length of time, it seems it would fit perfectly with God’s plan of 7000 years. Judgment Day would be 2011 A.D.
But for the sake of the elect those day will be shortened.”
Why is there no question now?
In the nineteen years since 1994? Was written the biblical evidence for 2011 has greatly solidified. Today there is no longer any question, May 21, 2011 is the day in which Jesus Christ will return.
What do you say to those who insist we cannot know the precise date of Judgment Day?
For one to object to May 21st, 2011 one must have BIBLICAL AUTHORITY to do so. Objections cannot be based upon consensus, traditions or fear. God has given far too many biblical proofs for anyone to disregard May 21 simply because he or she does not like it.
The Bible has led us to May 21, 2011
This date is not the product of the mind of one man or a group of men.
It is the culmination of study of the entire Bible, both the Old and New Testaments.
Every word written in the original Biblical “autographs” were dictated by God, therefore all words, numbers and sentences in these original writings are to be trusted as coming from God.
The fact that this date is the result of the synthesis of all of Scripture causes May 21st, 2011 to take on very sobering factuality. It is no longer opinion, but a matter of fact.
May 21, 2011 is God’s date. All other predictions are man’s attempt to predict the end. So it becomes a matter of eternal life, or eternal death. One can no longer presume May 21st of this year will be just another normal day.
Each person must come to entrust their lives to what God has written in His Word the Bible and plead to Him for mercy. Otherwise God will come upon them with unmerciful vengeance on May 21, 2011.