Thursday, January 04, 2007

Does Rowan Williams believe the Bible?

During December, Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury visited Israel / Palestine.

The purpose of the trip was primarily to build bridges, and to give support to Christians in that land.

This is a very commendable aim. However, some of his subsequent statements show a significant misunderstanding of the political situation in that troubled region. His comments also suggest a lack of understanding of the Bible. He clearly has a very innacurate understanding of Islam.

We should start with the presumption that Israel has every right to exist as a nation, and that its ancient homeland is the most reasonable place for the modern state of Israel to have been founded. The Jewish people need their own country. We in Britain should feel proud and priveliged that Britain played an important role in the founding of the modern state of Israel, although regrettably, such support has been inconsistent over the years.

Of course, many Muslim Arabs, and by extension, many Muslims around the world, wish to deny the very existence of Israel, and will use any means to wipe Israel off the map.

Rowan Williams needs to fully understand these two points. It is not at all clear that he does. We must fully understand that the Islamic terrorist organisations, namely Hisbollah and Hamas are targetting Jewish civilians virtually on a daily basis. It is hardly any surprise therefore that Israel's armed forces take action to root out these terrorists. Unfortunately, not every operation is carried out with sufficient accuracy, and so civilian casualties result. Loss of innocent life is to be regretted, whoever it is.

As has been seen during the conflict in southern Lebanon during the summer of 2006, the Islamists are perfectly willing to make use of civilians as human shields. Unfortunately, the world's media are very much biased, or have been completely taken in by the Islamists' propaganda. I recall one television reporter interviewing an Israeli army officer. The officer repeatedly stated that they do not target civilians. The reporter clearly did not believe him.

Rowan Williams has written an article in The Times (December 23rd 2006). In it, he states:

"In Egypt, where Christian-Muslim relations have been - and still are - intimate and good, attacks in Christians are notably more frequent."

This may be true, but it is not the whole truth. In Egypt, the Christian population has been, and continues to be treated as Dhimmis, or protected people. This means that they are permitted to continue with their religious practices (but not in public), provided that they pay an additional tax. The tax is paid as an indication of their inferiority and subjugation.

"Fight those who do not believe in Allah, nor in the latter day, nor do they prohibit what Allah and His Apostle have prohibited, nor follow the religion of truth, out of those who have been given the Book, until they pay the tax in acknowledgment of superiority and they are in a state of subjection." Quran 9.29

Another quote from this article: "One warning often made and systematically ignored in the hectic days before the Iraq war was that Western military action - at that time and in that way - would put Christians in the whole Middle East at risk. They would be seen as supporters of the crusading West."

The implication is that it is the persecution of Christians in Muslim countries is due to the war in Iraq (or other excuses, such as the Israel / Palestinian conflict, or Afghanistan). Certainly, it may well be that such persecution has intensified as a result of these conflicts. However, the root of these difficulties, and the primary cause, is the Quran itself. It is high time that this should be pointed out by Rowan Williams, and other Christian leaders. By not doing so, it is simply giving more and more justification for Muslims to make attacks on non-Muslims.

It is not just Christions who have suffered at the hands of Muslims over many centuries. We must also see that Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Zoroastrians, Animists, and Pagans etc have also suffered persecutions, and continue to do so now, on a daily basis.

The responsibility for these persecutions rests fully upon the Quran:

"O Prophet! urge the believers to war; if there are twenty patient ones of you they shall overcome two hundred, and if there are a hundred of you they shall overcome a thousand of those who disbelieve, because they are a people who do not understand." Quran 8.65

"O you who believe! fight those of the unbelievers who are near to you and let them find in you hardness; and know that Allah is with those who guard (against evil)." Quran 9.123

Another quote from the Rowan Williams article: "As Christian populations migrate, it all fuels the myth in East and West - that Islam can't live with other faiths and that the East-West collision is an irreconcilable clash of faiths and cultures."

Unfortunately, despite any wishful thinking to the contrary, Islam really is incompatible with every other religion. Here is a quote from the Quran, which demonstrates this point:

"O you who believe! do not take the Jews and the Christians for friends; they are friends of each other; and whoever amongst you takes them for a friend, then surely he is one of them; surely Allah does not guide the unjust people." Quran 5.51

Muslims cannot coexist with Atheists either:

"They desire that you should disbelieve as they have disbelieved, so that you might be (all) alike; therefore take not from among them friends until they fly (their homes) in Allah's way; but if they turn back, then seize them and kill them wherever you find them, and take not from among them a friend or a helper." Quran 4.89

I am sorry to have to say it Rowan, that although your article does make some valid points, by giving only half truths, your article is largely bullshit. I am sorry to have to use this strong word, but such propogation of half truths simply compounds the problems, and plays straight into the hands of the Muslims. You really must open your eyes to the truth.

The Palestinian Christian communities in Gaza and the West Bank are declining. It is pleasing to see that Rowan Williams is at least acknowledging that this is due to the pressure from the Palestinian Muslim community. He should now fully understand that Christians (and other non-Muslims) have been persecuted, or deliberately disadvantaged by Muslims ever since Islam arose. This has very little to do with Israel or the Iraq war, or Afghanistan as such. Indeed, Israel has no quarrel at all with Palestinian Christians, since they do not form terrorist organisations to target Jewish civilians.

In general, it should be perfectly possible for Christians and Jews to coexist peacefully. There is no in-built hostility towards Jews within Christian teaching, if read correctly. (Unlike the Quran) However, it is unfortunately the case that certain interpretations have been placed on various verses within the New Testament, with disastrous consequences for enmity between Christians and Jews. The Muslims are proud to claim that they have created enmity amongst Jews and amongst Christians, although it would appear to have arisen before Islam even existed.

"And with those who say, We are Christians, We made a covenant, but they neglected a portion of what they were reminded of, therefore We excited among them enmity and hatred to the day of resurrection; and Allah will inform them of what they did." Quran 5.14

"And the Jews say: The hand of Allah is tied up! Their hands shall be shackled and they shall be cursed for what they say. Nay, both His hands are spread out, He expends as He pleases; and what has been revealed to you from your Lord will certainly make many of them increase in inordinacy and unbelief; and We have put enmity and hatred among them till the day of resurrection; whenever they kindle a fire for war Allah puts it out, and they strive to make mischief in the land; and Allah does not love the mischief-makers." Quran 5.64

It is worthwhile considering the roots of anti-Semitism within Christianity. This reached its climax in the Holocaust. The Nazis took encouragement from numerous Christian sources, including Martin Luther. Here is a quote from Martin Luther, regarding the Jewish people:

"Burn their synagogues and schools; what will not burn, bury with earth, that neither stone nor rubbish remain. In like manner break into and destroy their homes. Take away their prayer books and Talmuds, in which there is nothing but godlessness, lies, cursing and swearing. Forbid their Rabbis to preach, on pain of life or limb... If I had power over them I would assemble their most prominent and demand that we Christians do not worship God, under penalty of having their tongues torn out through the back of the neck."

The seeds of anti-Semitism within Christianity were sown many years earlier. It is rather ironic that there should be this deplorable attitude, since Jesus himself was Jewish, as were his disciples and other followers. The initial preaching of the early Christian message was conducted in synagogues.

How can this be? Initially, there was a split from mainstream Judaism, which widened during the early development of Christianity. The rift was exacerbated as Christianity became the official religion of the Roman empire in AD312, and consequently changed its character, as it absorbed various Pagan ideas, such as the festivals of Christmas and Easter, and abandoned the Jewish festivals. The Emperor Constantine passed various anti-Semitic laws, following his conversion to Christianity.

Unfortunately, just because certain people consider themselves to be Christians, does not guarantee that they will behave well. We simply have to consider the burning of witches, and in more recent times, the massacre of innocent civilians in Bosnia, while the "civilised" world stood idly by, until America stepped in. It does seem to me that the Crusades were a serious mistake also, and they are a painful reminder that Christians do not always live up to their ideals. Today, we do battle via the keyboard. It is far better to convince someone of the truth by means of reasoned argument, than to cut off their head if they should disagree. As an aside, it is the case that fundamental Islam thrives when the population is ill-educated, and out of touch with the rest of the world. As literacy rates increase in Muslim countries, and as the Internet and other media becomes more widespread, so too does the extremist preaching begin to loosen its grip over the population. It would be helpful if the BBC were to drop its pro-Islamic bias. The truth about Islam is readily available from the Internet, and so the BBC is simply harming its own reputation.

Within Christianity, there then arose the concept of Replacement Theology. Simply stated, it teaches that where the word "Israel" appears in the New Testament, it does not necessarily mean the physical country of Israel, populated mainly by Jewish people. Instead, the word "Israel" is taken to mean the Christian Church. Such a concept is very widespread today amongst many (but by no means all) people who believe themselves to be Christians. However, there are serious difficulties and inconsistencies with this concept in itself. It also appears to be at the root of much anti-Semitism within Christianity, since it denies the important role that Israel has had, and today continues to have within Biblical teachings.

A book that is well worth reading, which covers this subject in depth, is "Has God finished with Israel?" by Rob Richards.

Perhaps many Christians do not think very deeply about these issues, but simply enjoy going to Church, saying prayers and singing hymns. However, it is highly unlikely that Rowan Williams would be unfamiliar with the details of Replacement Theology. It is his duty, therefore, to fully understand the consequences of it, including the resulting anti-Semitism. It is high time that he showed some true leadership qualities, and lead the Anglican Church away from such disastrous teachings. It is clear that the Pope is working very hard to build bridges with Judaism, and also with the Orthodox Church. The Pope is also actively chastising Islam, by calling it to apply reason and logic to faith. Faith without reason is nothing. It is important that Rowan Williams should do likewise, with a proper understanding of the issues, because the increasing threat of Islam worldwide means that time is running out. Being preoccupied by irrelevancies such as gay bishops or women priests is most regrettable in this context.

It is important that we fully understand the significant differences between Christianity and Islam. Many people who are not particularly interested in religions generally have the mistaken idea that they are all basically similar, which is patently untrue. It is the duty of Rowan Williams to point out that the true teachings of Christianity are for peace. He must also point out that Islam has within its writings (the Quran and the Hadiths) many bloodthirsty verses, which are as relevant to Muslims today as when they were written many centuries ago. Islam is violent and bloodthirsty to its very roots. Christianity is not, even though there have been many foolish people over the years who claim to be Christians. This includes Bush and Blair.

The Anglican church is in disarray, and is falling apart. Hardly surprising, given the lack of understanding clearly demonstrated by its leaders. There is a preoccupation with trivial issues, such as gay bishops. The Church needs to look outwards, not inwards, regain some backbone, and speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, with a loud and clear voice.

You may also like to read my blog posting "Is the Church of England cursed by God?"

Also take a look at this article:

A Challenge to Dr Rowan Williams

Humanity needs peace not Islam.


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