Dan's Meditations

Friday, September 22, 2006

Jewish Holidays

This would be an interesting and thought provoking and controversial debate. It would also be a chance to learn a lot. For the believer, this could prove to be an adventure of discovery of all the beautiful double-meanings of all the Jewish Holidays.

Should Christians celebrate the Jewish Holidays and the Christianized pagan holidays (like Christmas and Easter)?


Should Christians only celebrate the Christianized pagan holidays?


Should Christians forsake the Christianized pagan holidays and only celebrate the Jewish holidays and feasts the Jesus celebrated?

On this one, due to the world in which we live, I lean towards the first option. However, if I could reinvent the world and imagine a world where there was no Christmas and Easter, then I think it would be really neat to celebrate the Jewish Holidays with the kind of enthusiasm with which I celebrate Christmas now.

Like so many others, my emotions have been manipulated by the world. I'm not necessarily saying that this is a bad thing. But the idea of it certainly sounds bad. For all the talk that Americans espouse about freedom and independence, we have really fell in line with the world program - with the Christmas trees and Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny and all. If people think they are really free, then it might be worth noting how incredibly difficult it would be to refrain from celebrating Christmas. Again, not that celebrating Christmas is a bad thing ... its just that we all tend to act like sheep - following the program that was set for us centuries ago by people who decided that the best strategy for reaching the pagan is to celebrate our most important holidays on the days of their most important pagan celebrations. (I won't call the pagan celebrations holidays, because I know about the etymology of the word holiday).

Anyway, I start this post today because Rosh Hashana begins this evening. And it is exciting. The Jewish New Year. I don't know much else about Rosh Hashana (because I haven't celebrated it every year the way I have the 4th of July and Thanksgiving and Christmas and Easter). But I'm excited to learn about it and to discover the rich double meanings of the holiday. I'm pretty certain that every Jewish Holiday has a double meaning for those of us who believe that Jesus is the Messiah. So, this is an exciting day!

Friday, September 15, 2006

Respecting Islam?

Pope Benedict XVI recently made this remark quoting a 14th century Byzantine Emperor:

"He said, I quote, 'Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.'"


Of course, the Islamic community is enraged - as expected. Unfortunately, if appears that the pope is backing down somewhat from his statement.

I can't help but to note the incredible differences between Islam and Christianity. Jesus said, "Turn the other cheek" and "Love your enemies." Jesus washed Judas' feet knowing that Judas was going to betray him. Jesus gave His life for the people who nailed Him to the cross, and prayed, "Father forgive them, for they know not what they do." Jesus taught us to be patient and kind. The Bible teaches us, "Be angry, but do not sin."

I don't see any of this in the Muslim response to the Pope's comments. Even if the Pope is wrong (which I don't think he is), any religious idea that would encourage this kind of response from the Muslim world is not worthy of respect. In fact, the response of the Muslim world seems to prove the Pope's point. Now, theoretically, it is possible that Mohammed was really a peaceful loving guy, and all these offended Muslims are simply in sin for responding to the Pope with such arrogance and anger and hatred, but from everything I have heard and read about Mohammed, he did spread his cult religion by the sword.

If we are going to establish a better world for our future, then we will have to examine closely the history of Islam, Islamic theology, and the life and message of Mohammed. If we are to have a better world, then Muslims are going to have to own up to the facts.

It seems to me - from my limited knowledge, that bin Laden and his terrorist network are most closely in line with the teachings of Mohammed than the modern secularized Muslim world is. Yet that doesn't stop the modern secularist Muslims (along with the rest of the secular world) from making such ignorant statements like, "Bin Laden is not a 'true Muslim'" and "True Islam is a good and tolerant religion." Essentially, modern secularists are trying to project modern secuarlist ideas onto Islam and then calling that true Islam. They are doing the same thing to Christianity. Projecting modern secular ideas onto Christian theology, calling it 'true Christianity' and then condemning orthodox Christians as "extremist fundamentalists." In other words, any Christian who believes that the Bible is the inspired, infallible, and authoritative Word of God and who also knows how to use syllogisms in debate, these are not true Christians.

The difference of course between Christian fundamentalism and Islamic fundamentalism is that Christian fundamentalists believe and practice the truth, and the truth is good and right. Islamic fundamentalists stay true to Mohammed, but Mohammed was a false prophet.

To be fair, much evil has been done in the name of Christianity. This is wrong. You'll be happy to know that Jesus was the most harsh with the prideful religious people - not the humble sinners.

Moderate Muslims need not to project modernity on to Islam; they need to renounce Islam. They need not embrace modernity or postmodernity either. They need to embrace Jesus Christ - the Son of God.

And they need to be able to have a conversation with those who think that Mohammed is a false prophet without becoming angry at those who proclaim truth.

I hear people disrespect Jesus Christ all the time. There is a place for holy anger; don't misunderstand me. But we should be quick to listen and slow to anger. And in our anger, we must not sin. So, when I hear people disrespect Jesus Christ, I calmly, proactively, patiently, and forcefully urge that person to repent. Meanwhile, I treat them with love and respect and kindness, trusting that the kindness of God leads toward repentance.

By the way... the doctrines of Islam that are in agreement with Christian theology are to be respected, revered, and obeyed. But the doctrines of Islam that disagree with Christian theology are damnable doctrines, and by believing them and practicing them, people practice evil in the name of religion.

Exalting God necessarily means disrespecting all doctrines that oppose Christianity.

I would love to have a Jesus vs Mohammed public debate with a Muslim.

Lay down the pride, people. You are really screwing up the world by holding on to your arrogant pride. "God abhors the proud, but gives grace to the humble."

Monday, September 11, 2006

Defining Freedom

Unless we understand and love real freedom, we will not have the courage, the will, the resolve, or the wisdom to win the war on terrorism.

I have been reading Father Jonathon's blog recently on Fox News. While I definately have some doctrinal and philosophical differences with him, he does make many points with which I agree.

This was a very interesting essay. Check it out:

So, what is freedom?

First of all, I would suggest that Thomas Jefferson knew nothing about freedom. Neither did many of our Founding Fathers. Many of them were deceived by the Enlightenment (which really ought to be called the Endarkenment). They bought into the deceitful religion of secularism, and so became slaves.

No doubt, many people disagree with me and are thinking about the horrific religious wars of Europe, the injustice that Thomas More suffered, or any number of other incidents from history when the "religious" state oppressed the people and denied the people their fundamental rights.

And your objection is valid, and deserves a response - one which I will not give today for lack of time.

What I wish to discuss is the nature of freedom and the relationship between freedom and law.

I think that many Americans think that security must be compromised in order to be free. Or freedom must be comprised in order to maintain law and order and security. But I would suggest that neither is the case.

Anyone whose soul is not well ordered is not free. Anyone who is overwhelmed by anxiety or fear is a slave to anxiety or fear is a slave to that anxiety or fear. Anyone who casts off all restraint becomes a slave of vice - a slave to sin. Those who covet either become enslaved to bitterness or to selfish ambition.

But the man who has peace in God is free. He may at times be tempted by anxiety, but he finds peace in the LORD. He may be afraid, but is not mastered by fear. He may be tempted by all kinds of vice - and fall into sin - but he is not mastered by sin, for He has faith in God. He is under grace. He is a son of God; not a lost orphan.

2 Peter 2:19 warns us against the influence of wicked and deceitful men. "They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity - for a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him." America would do well to meditate on this blessed verse of Scripture.

We must be on our guard against wicked despots who would injure, oppress, or kill innocent people. There are evil people in the world. More than that, many of they are ambitious.

But my big concern is similar to Father Jonathon's concern. Denying moral absolutes is a recipe for disaster. We can not have justice if we deny the reality of moral absolutes. If we separate morality from politics, then we will not establish justice. Where justice is not established, there can be no freedom. But we can not understand and appreciate morality and justice if we refuse to submit to God.

Nature abhors a vacuum. Wherever the blessed wisdom and truth of the Bible is not being exalted, some other worldly philosophy will be exalted. And then people, in their foolishness and idolatry and in their love of darkness and contempt for freedom, will put their faith and trust in that idea.

And then they become slaves.

Why do you think the Middle East is such a mess? Why do you think so many in the Islamic world hate us? They don't see themselves as slaves; that's for sure.

As I was watching "That Path to 9/11" miniseries last night, I did some thinking about the nature of radical Islam.

This is what I have come up with: Radical Islam is a world-wide, fraternity gang.

These terrorists are not stupid people. They are very intelligent - probably more intelligent than most Americans. They have found in their twisted religion camraderie and purpose. Being united with intelligent charismatic brethren, they are excited about this war. They are making history, and they love it. They hate the West, and they hate Israel. They are racist thugs, and they use religion to justify their hatred. They (rightly) point out a lot of the hypocrisy and sinfulness of the West. So, they see themselves as agents of God's justice. And in all their zeal, they don't hear the voice of God that testifies to the wonderful dignity of man.

But the horrible thing is that the west, in their secular zeal, also have treated God with contempt by denying the wonderful dignity of man. They have fueled the fire of radical Islam by living lifestyles of decadence and self-service. They have treated God with contempt by killing the unborn and neglecting social justice. They have treated God with contempt by embracing postmodernism and neopaganism.


Until we understand this and appreciate this, we will never understand and appreciate real freedom. And if we don't understand and love freedom, we will lose this war.

This is not as much a fight against radical Islam as much as it is a fight for the Shalom of God. There are creation norms, aka, moral absolutes - on which our laws and our policies must be based. We must be united in laboring for the cause of a beautiful and free and just society.

Secularists think that they are the champions of freedom. But radical secularism will not secure a free and just society. Rather, we will become enslaved by ungodly philosophies and tyrannical governments.

We reap what we sow. Freedom is not free. Freedom can only be secured when we joyfully submit to just laws.

We must not be fooled by the advocates of tolerance and diversity. We must maintain godly convictions and work for the establishment of justice. Don't depend on the government to do it. You have to do it. I have to do it. The government doesn't care about you. We need to care about each other. Serving one another, we shall become free.

May God give us the wisdom to see the right; the will to choose it; and the strength to make it endure.