God's Politics

God's Politics


Words, Not War: Building a Bridge to Peace Between the U.S. and Iran /by Jessica Wilbanks/

posted by God's Politics

Last week’s announcement that the Bush administration is seeking to designate the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps a foreign terrorist organization is the latest drumbeat in an intensifying confrontation that could lead to war.


In an interview with The New York Times, former Iranian deputy defense minister, Alireza Akbari warned that the measure could cause instability in the region. “If they [the U.S. government] put pressure on the security apparatus of a country, they should expect a similar reaction.”


As sabers continue to rattle, it’s still unclear whether these latest developments will translate into a military confrontation in the near future. For more than a year now, rumors of war between the U.S. and Iran have ebbed and flowed. Officials within Vice President Dick Cheney’s office have advocated for military intervention, whereas the State Department and the Secretary of Defense have made public statements favoring a diplomatic approach. Current presidential candidates have largely refused to take any option off the table to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons.


With war still raging in Iraq, many of us are hungry for a sign of hope that the tensions between the U.S. and Iran will not evolve into military confrontation. While it’s hard to see hope in the daily headlines, an ecumenical delegation to Iran found signs that the tensions between our two nations can indeed be mediated.


Last February, 13 representatives of national religious groups and denominations, led by the Mennonite Central Committee and the American Friends Service Committee, journeyed to Iran in an effort to build bridges of understanding between our two nations. Rather than approaching Iran as the “axis of evil,” they met with Muslim and Christian leaders, government officials, and Iranians from many walks of life. Through listening and sharing their own stories, they returned from Tehran with new hope for an easing of tensions between Iran and the U.S. Specifically, they call on the two countries to take the following steps:



  • immediately engage in direct, face-to-face talks;

  • cease using language that defines the other using “enemy” images; and

  • promote more people-to-people exchanges, including among religious leaders, members of Parliament/Congress, and civil society.

While in Iran with the ecumenical delegation, Sojourners/Call to Renewal representative Jeff Carr was struck by the dramatically different narratives Iranians and Americans told of the history between the two nations: the CIA’s overthrow of Iran’s democratically elected leader, the installation of the shah, the 1979 revolution, the ensuing hostage crisis, and the current nuclear standoff.


Since the delegation’s trip to Iran, we’ve received numerous requests for information about the current conflict between the U.S. and Iran from Americans who also wish to understand the roots of tension between our governments.


To meet this need, Sojourners/Call to Renewal and Faithful Security have collaborated to produce a Words, Not War Study and Action Guide. The study guide includes fact sheets, stories from the ecumenical delegation, suggestions of ways to advocate for Words, Not War, and a study guide that serves as a companion piece to the PBS “NOW” program “Talking to Iran.”


The first step to reconciling the tension between the U.S. and Iran is to learn one another’s stories. Through the Words , Not War Study and Action Guide and the PBS program “Talking to Iran,” you’ll be able to learn more about the delegation’s experience in Iran and the roots of the tension between the two nations. Our hope is that based on this information, you will feel led to make a public witness for the need for a diplomatic solution to the current standoff between the U.S. and Iran.


In the words of Jeff Carr, “May God help both our nations and peoples to begin the healing and reconciliation process so that we may avoid war and build that lasting peace.”


Jessica Wilbanks staffs Faithful Security: the National Religious Partnership on the Nuclear Weapons Danger. She lives in Taos, New Mexico.



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Moderatelad

posted August 23, 2007 at 3:54 pm


I have a will continue to pray for peace with IRAN and the US and our allies. We need to be able to trust but verify. I will be skeptical on this issue as many that are in power in Iran today were directly involved with the take over of the US Embassy and they have a track record of not following international law and diplomacy. Yes – I understand that a lot of good retoric was exchanged between the delegation and Iran people.
Just wonder what retoric was exchanged between PM Chamberlain and Hitler so that they signed an agreement…?
Let us do everything possible for peace!
(then knock the stuffins out of them – Just kidding!!!)
Have a great evening!
.



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Ben Sheaffer

posted August 23, 2007 at 4:35 pm


What this administration needs to realize, is that there is a young, vibrant, politically moderate population in Iran, that is extremely disenchanted with the current regime. The key is to engage this body of citizens. They want regime change just as much as the Bush administration. They are looking to take their country back. We must empower them to pressure their government. Think of the incredible legacy it would leave to start a tidal wave of diplomatic momentum from within.



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John Eby

posted August 23, 2007 at 4:53 pm


How can we be confident that Iranian leaders are speaking the truth and can be trusted when lies and deception are considered to be a normal and acceptable part of their government’s method of operation? How can we be expected to believe them when they say their nuclear development program is only for peaceful purposes? Why do they need “peaceful” nuclear capability when they are sitting on top of some of the world’s largest oil reserves? I am amazed how easily some of the ecumenical delegation members were duped into believing that the Iranians have only peaceful goals for their nuclear program.



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Jess

posted August 23, 2007 at 5:16 pm


Here’s an idea for you–would it be possible for you guys to set up a forum that everyday Americans and Iranians could leave email messages to communicate with each other? If there was something an American or Iranian wanted to say to the American people in general, then there could be a way for them to do it. And it could be the same format as any other comment area, this one for example.
Obviously it would be best if the messages were translated, which would be a lot of work, but this stuff is too important to leave to the military-industrial complex.
Amy Goodman did a show before the invasion of Iraq where American and Iraqi high school kids got to talk to each other. It was one best things I ran to tell me what the situation really was.
And if any Iranians happen to see this message: There are many of us in America who care about you, despite the people who have taken control of our government. Best wishes.



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Hali

posted August 23, 2007 at 5:40 pm


John Eby wrote,
“How can we be confident that Iranian leaders are speaking the truth and can be trusted when lies and deception are considered to be a normal and acceptable part of their government’s method of operation? ”
How can the Iranians be confident that American leaders are speaking the truth and can be trusted when lies and deception are considered to be a normal and acceptable part of our government’s method of operation?
“How can we be expected to believe them when they say their nuclear development program is only for peaceful purposes?”
Why is this necessary? We are both trying to meet the same universal human need: security. The more we seem to be a threat to their security, the more they are motivated to push their nuclear program through, especially after seeing the difference in our actions in Iraq (who had no nukes) compared to our actions towards North Korea (who have nukes and are ruled by a dictator at least as ruthless as Sadaam Hussein).
Why not look for a strategy that meets our mutual needs for security and trust without threatening each other? Military action so far has failed to meet those needs.



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clarence Langford

posted August 23, 2007 at 9:28 pm


To the tune of C C Rider
Oh Bin .. Oh Bin Lauden
Oh see .. oh see what you done
You got .. you got the beast a flyin
you got.. you got the heads a lyin
oh see ,, oh see what you done
yu,, yu gone a way baby
and left us.. left us with the gun
yu.. yu gone away baby
now they’re just shootin around for the fun
oh Bin .. oh Bin lauden
you just stayin .. staying on the run



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Stephanie

posted August 23, 2007 at 9:54 pm


Ms. Wilbanks:
When you say the presidential candidates have largely refused to take the possibility of war with Iran off the table, you fail to mention that Dennis Kucinich is the one candidate who adamantly opposes war with Iran. In fact, he is the one candidate who has consistently spoken out against war with Iran, just as he has opposed the war with Iraq from the beginning, before it started. Anyone who truly believes in peace and diplomacy should take a careful look at Dennis Kucinich. The media has been ignoring him, but he is the only real chance for restoring this country to what it should be.
http://www.dennis4president.com/go/issues/
http://www2.kucinich.us/files/pdfs/irannews2.pdf



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rick

posted August 23, 2007 at 10:09 pm


so you being a Christian are saying we need more people exchange meaning bring the Islamist radical clerics to the US so they can gain support for their cause. Also do you read the Bible? Ezekiel warns us about the Persians and the role they play in the end times! I don’t belive your views are in line with the Word of God. There can be no peace with Iran. They are killing our troops in Iraq, they are waiting for the Madi (there messiah) the one we belive could be the anti Christ.



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Donny

posted August 23, 2007 at 10:18 pm


What part of Islam don’t you Progresives understand?
There is NO way to reason with the adherants of this religion. Since Muhammad took Mecca by force, the followers of this military holy war perpetrator have done likewise without any signs of changing.
Peace, means FOR Muslims only.
Those that do not become a Muslim get nothing but death or Dhiimi status. There are far too many Islamic countries that have no tolerance for others (actually EVERY Islamic country) to prove that there is no talking with Muslims that will alter their totalitarian religious ways.
C’mon progs.



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Anonymous

posted August 23, 2007 at 11:32 pm


Once more a group of well meaning liberals.. sorry… progressives play into the hands of those who have sworn publically to either kill or subjugate them. The term is “useful idiot” for a reason.



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Wolverine

posted August 23, 2007 at 11:38 pm


The belief that Sojo has in the magic of talk continues to amaze me.
We’ve been talking – well, writing back and forth, but communicating at least – for months and you haven’t convinced me to change a single one of my positions, let along persuaded me to drop a nuclear weapons program.
What makes you think that “talk” will work any better with the Iranians?
The Iranians are persuing nuclear weapons because they believe it is in their best interest to do so. Is there anything the US could say that would change that calculus? To this point I have yet to hear a plausible answer to that question.
On a related point: the Iranian Revolutionary Guard is not a neoconservative bugbear, they are real and they engage in terror.
One other observation: a year ago, when “Words not War” was announced, Jim Wallis said quite clearly that Iran should not be allowed to develop nuclear weapons. I questioned whehter he was willing an end without the means, but at least we shared this critical goal. This time around I don’t see such a clear statement about that. Does this mean that Sojo is willing to accept a nuclear-armed Iran?
Wolverine



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Wolverine

posted August 23, 2007 at 11:52 pm


Meanwhile, as Sojo offers us this warmed-over piece of diplomatic banality, they continue to ignore the smearing of Bobby Jindal by the Louisiana Democratic Party — a smearing that had the effect of poisoning relations between Catholics and Protestants.
Just thought it was worth noting.
Wolverine



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kevin s.

posted August 24, 2007 at 2:15 am


“When you say the presidential candidates have largely refused to take the possibility of war with Iran off the table, you fail to mention that Dennis Kucinich is the one candidate who adamantly opposes war with Iran. ”
And he is a fruitcake. What does that tell us?
I am willing to listen to a call for diplomacy, so long as I understand how this diplomacy is tied to potential action. Simply asking Iranian leaders to do what we want is highly unlikely to work.
Wolverine,
Sojourners wants Bobby Jindal to lose. The Catholic play backfired for the Dems. There is simply no way Sojo is going to amplify this fact.



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Robert Alu

posted August 24, 2007 at 3:02 am


Politics? The IRA has made peace with the British government and the Unionists, right? Libya’s leader, Qaddafi, is no longer a bad boy, is he? The North Korean dictator, Kim Jong-Il, has negotiated re his nuclear ambitions with the US/UN, has he not?
But,
There must have been very many brilliant religious minds, such as those who regularly post comments on these pages, back in the days that Christ walked on the earth, who imagined he was crazy to entrust his kingdom to 12 highly unqualified characters; in their ‘humble’ opinion.
He cannot have been God, because, as Napoleon would say centuries later “God is on the side of the big battalions.”
It may even be argued that the ‘keepers’ of the faith, then, contributed immensely to his crucifixion. And why did they want him dead? Possibly because he was a sort of ‘well intentioned liberal rabble rouser’?
Well …
Today many of us think (oh we may not say so outrightly, because we ‘follow’ him) that Christ was crazy to declare: “Blessed are the
peacemakers, for they shall be called Sons of God.” And: “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword”.
It seems to me that if Christ chose to come back in the same manner he intruded the first time it is Christians, like you and I, who would crucify him this time round! Nothing seems to have changed.
As G K Chesterton once said, “Christianity has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and not tried.”
I get very exasperated when we spend so much energy villifying our ‘enemies’, especially Muslims, without considering that we might do better ourselves. Thankfully Sojourners recognizes this premise. Sadly many who
contribute here do not seem to care at all. A quick look at a map of the world, for example, should tell anyone how ironic it is to complain that American troops are being killed by Iranians in Iraq.
Might does not necessarily make right. When will Christians stop battling “against flesh and blood”?
Now Muslims are not called to a life of Christlikeness – for all we know! We are the ones charged to love our enemies, pray for them and rejoice when treated unjustly! We are even taught to expect persecution for our faith… Nowhere do I read that CHRIST’S DISCIPLES should be happy to take on the role of persecutor, under any circumstances (but I can guess someone will quickly correct me, right here).
Why do we born again believers, redeemed by the blood of Christ, expect people that we call ‘Islamofascists’ (whatever that is) to behave like good Muslims (whatever that may be) when we do not act like the Christians (whatever the word means) that we claim to be?
In conclusion I quote from John Stott’s last public address, given at Keswick last month:
” … There was a Hindu professor in India who once identified one of his students as a Christian and said to him: ‘If you Christians lived like Jesus Christ, India would be at your feet tommorow’. I think India would be at
their feet today if we Christians lived like Christ. From the Islamic world, the Reverend Iskandar Jadeed, a former Arab Muslim, said “If all Christians were Christians – that is, Christlike -there would be no more Islam today.’”
Robert Alu
Dar es Salaam



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Don

posted August 24, 2007 at 7:39 am


Hear hear! Thanks, Mr. Alu, for your wisdom.
When will the administration in Washington and its allies (whoever is left) realize that they are playing right into the jihadists’ hands and worse with their sabre-rattling? Bin Laden and Assoc. wants to provoke the West into a ‘clash of civilizations.’ They know that is the only way they can defeat us.
Why give them what they want? Let’s find a better way to confront the threat. It’s really a war of ideas; we should be waging the battle on that front, not with missles and bombs.
Peace!



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Joachim Martillo

posted August 24, 2007 at 7:47 am


I wrote a short homily that may be relevant and that discusses the connection between Christianity, Islam and Judaism.
Because it uses Hebrew, Greek, Syriac and Arabic character sets for quotations, which are also transliterated and translated, I have to direct you to a web page that composed. Please go to http://eaazi.blogspot.com/2007/04/linguistics-islam-and-beatitudes.html . Sorry for the inconvenience.



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jesse

posted August 24, 2007 at 8:01 am


The nasty little Bobby Jindal ad also goes against Sojo’s talking points about conservatives “high-jacking” their faith. Ditto with Rep. Harold Ford’s statement last year that Republicans don’t love God. You’d think that a website devoted to politics and religion would see fit to report or comment on such high profile incidents. It’s obvious they would do so if a Republican were saying such things. Is partisanship “prophetic”?



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Moderatelad

posted August 24, 2007 at 8:09 am


Posted by: Hali | August 23, 2007 5:40 PM
‘…be confident that American leaders are speaking the truth and can be trusted…’
Hali – so then why if you don’t think we can be trusted does most of the world look to US when they are in trouble or have a natural disaster? Don’t see them beating a path to Iran for help!
‘Why not look for a strategy that meets our mutual needs for security and trust without threatening each other? Military action so far has failed to meet those needs.’
What is ‘mutual’ for Iran? Historically – the US involvement militarilly for the most part has been containment or assistance to our allies.
Military action so far has failed to meet those needs.’
OR – has yet to meet those needs.
The idea of going to war with Iran – no one wants that. But to remove it from the table so that it is not an option – that would just embolden them as they would see that as a act of weakness.
Blessings -
.



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Wolverine

posted August 24, 2007 at 8:27 am


Don wrote:
Why give them what they want?
By all indications, what the Iranians want is to develop a nuclear arsenal with a minimum of hassle from the West.
Wolverine



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kevin s.

posted August 24, 2007 at 8:51 am


“Today many of us think (oh we may not say so outrightly, because we ‘follow’ him) that Christ was crazy to declare: “Blessed are the
peacemakers, for they shall be called Sons of God.” And: “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword”.”
Apparently, you think he was crazy. I see those statement in light of what the Bible says about the role of governments.
And if all Christians were Christlike, all the nations would be all the more anxious to kill us. Christians in China are Christlike, and I don’t see that nation bowing down. The Bible isn’t just a quaint little peace newsletter.
“Why do we born again believers, redeemed by the blood of Christ, expect people that we call ‘Islamofascists’ (whatever that is) to behave like good Muslims”
I, for one, expect them to behave like the depraved, Godless folk that we all are without God.
“When will the administration in Washington and its allies (whoever is left) realize that they are playing right into the jihadists’ hands and worse with their sabre-rattling?”
Probably when that statement comes closer to resembling reality. The idea that getting us to go to war is somehow the goal of extremist Islam doesn’t really bear scrutiny.



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TLM

posted August 24, 2007 at 9:10 am


Yes, Americans in general and Christians in particular can do more and do better to reach out and forge relationships with Muslims and their religious and government leaders.
Yet, until the top Iranian government officials and religious leaders stand together and publicly state that they DO NOT SUPPORT THE DESTRUCTION OF ISRAEL OR AMERICA, and back up their words with actions, nothing we do will change anything.



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John Eby

posted August 24, 2007 at 11:24 am


I’ll still take my chances with our government’s credibilty over that of the Iranians. After all, we have freedoms they can only dream about…freedom of speech, dissent, and the press.
I don’t trust them when they say they are pursuing nuclear capabilities only for peaceful purposes. I don’t believe them if they claim it is necessary only for defense or security. Someone who denies the Holocaust ever happened has no credibility. I hope and pray diplomacy works, but it takes two to make peace, only one to wage war.



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Hali

posted August 24, 2007 at 12:27 pm


I apologize for re-posting so much of this, but it seems to me that Mod wanted specific answers.
“Moderatelad” wrote,
“‘…be confident that American leaders are speaking the truth and can be trusted…’
“Hali – so then why if you don’t think we can be trusted does most of the world look to US when they are in trouble or have a natural disaster?”
1. We are the world’s only remaining superpower.
2. We’re good at (foreign) disaster aid.
Unfortunately, neither of these has anything to do with the current administration’s credibility.
“‘Why not look for a strategy that meets our mutual needs for security and trust without threatening each other? Military action so far has failed to meet those needs.’
“What is ‘mutual’ for Iran?”
Human needs. Including security (see above).
“Historically – the US involvement militarilly for the most part has been containment or assistance to our allies.”
1. Historically, the US has a pretty bad history with Iran, beginning with the overthrow of the democratically elected, secular (but apparently too far left) Mossadek in favor of the Shah, a brutal dictator who set the stage for the Islamist revolution.
“Military action so far has failed to meet those needs.’
OR – has yet to meet those needs.”
And probably never will.
“The idea of going to war with Iran – no one wants that. But to remove it from the table so that it is not an option – that would just embolden them as they would see that as a act of weakness.”
How about we stop THREATENING them first and try to work together to meet our mutual human need for security (see above)? As we have both acknowledged, military action has not met that need (in fact, quite the opposite).



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Hali

posted August 24, 2007 at 12:30 pm


From Beliefnet’s “Daily Muslim Wisdom”
A man went back to transgressing after he had sincerely asked forgiveness of God and swore never to sin again. “How will God forgive me this time?” he asked in despair.
A heavenly voice responded, “You obeyed Me and I made amends for you, then you abandoned Me and I indulged you, and now that you returned to Me I shall receive you.”
-Al-Hujwiri, “The Kashf al-Mahjub”
From “The Bounty of Allah,” translated by Aneela Khalid Arshed



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justintime

posted August 24, 2007 at 1:23 pm


I think Iran is playing Bush for a fool.
Bush IS a fool and Iran’s strategy is working for them.
Look how Iran has gained influence in the Middle East after Bush’s foolish invasion of Iraq.
Iran’s nuclear weapons gambit is just that – a gambit to goad Bush into doing something really stupid, like bombing Iran.
This would be an irreparable disaster for the US. and
We would lose whatever influence we have left in the Middle East, forever.



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squeaky

posted August 24, 2007 at 1:48 pm


Kevin S.
“Apparently, you think he was crazy. I see those statement in light of what the Bible says about the role of governments. ”
What are you trying to say here–it’s unclear to me. Are you saying Christ was talking about governments rather than individuals when He said “blessed are the peacemakers?” If that is the case, should not our governments be working for peace?
“And if all Christians were Christlike, all the nations would be all the more anxious to kill us. ”
If we are told by Christ that we will be persecuted we should not be surprised when we are. Would that we are persecuted for being like Christ. That is the only thing worth being persecuted over, and blessed we are if we are persecuted for that reason. So, when we are persecuted, do not be surprised, count it as a blessing, and do not resist it.
“I, for one, expect them to behave like the depraved, Godless folk that we all are without God.”
You are equating all who are not Christians with atheists. Muslims are not without God–it may not be the same God we worship, but they are not without God. If a Muslim equated your belief with atheism, you would be deeply offended. I have heard some Muslims do that, but that gives me no right to return the favor. As I hope to build bridges of understanding and relationships that may lead to discussions about Christ, I will not, in any way, disrespect their faith.
“The idea that getting us to go to war is somehow the goal of extremist Islam doesn’t really bear scrutiny.”
I don’t know why not, and I think it is a perfectly valid point. It may not have been Bin Laden’s goal (although I wouldn’t be surprised if it was), but certainly he sees the wars as an extremely strong and effective recruiting tool. Even if it was an unintended consequence, the effects of this war on further strengthening the enemy’s cause and resolve needs to be seriously considered if we truly want to win the war on terrorism. If that is truly the goal, then all causes and effects need to be considered, do they not?



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Rick Nowlin

posted August 24, 2007 at 2:04 pm


Just wonder what retoric was exchanged between PM Chamberlain and Hitler so that they signed an agreement…?
FWIW, Chamberlain dealt with Hitler because he feared Stalin more. Most of Europe felt that way, otherwise Hitler would never gotten as far as he did.
The Iranians are persuing nuclear weapons because they believe it is in their best interest to do so. Is there anything the US could say that would change that calculus? To this point I have yet to hear a plausible answer to that question.
I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: Our complaining about Iran trying to get nuclear weapons is just plain hypocritical. We’ve got thousands and Israel has more than a few as well, and we’re all bent out of shape about Iran having one? Those things take years to develop and, especially considering North Korea’s case, it may not even work!
You’d think that a website devoted to politics and religion would see fit to report or comment on such high profile incidents. It’s obvious they would do so if a Republican were saying such things. Is partisanship “prophetic”?
Off the topic, Jesse.
The idea that getting us to go to war is somehow the goal of extremist Islam doesn’t really bear scrutiny.
Muslim extremists have already said this.



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Anonymous

posted August 24, 2007 at 2:10 pm


Posted by: Hali | August 24, 2007 12:27 PM
OK – OK, so what is it going to take so that the Shah is no longer in the equasion? There is no way that we can move forward until they are willing to give up the past. I will gladly face the firing squad if you can promise me that will balance the scales with the US and IRAN when it comes to the Shah issue.
Damn the Shah – damn Ike – damn US policy in the 50′s. Although I believe that they did what they did with their eyes on what was best for world peace. Lord knows we just got done with WWII and the USSR had proven itself to not be trustworthy on issues in Europe and peace on that continent. WHY would the US and others have any reason to believe that they would be worth trusting in the Middle East?
Dear Gussie – I wish things could be as simple as you seem to believe that they are, they are not.
Yes – the US is the last super power in the world – but even when there were two (or more) the world came to US and we have proven to have the ability to forgive our enemies faster and better than most of the countries where Islam is the dominate religion.
If I was to take your paradyme as to Iran and the US and apply it to the US – we should still be bombing Japan for attacking us and we should never forgivwe them.
Talk is cheep – Chamberlain proved that one in Spades.
Blessings -
.



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Moderatelad

posted August 24, 2007 at 2:31 pm


Posted by: | August 24, 2007 2:10 PM
this one is mine – Moderatelad -
.



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eileen fleming

posted August 24, 2007 at 3:13 pm


Have you seen this video exposing FOX ‘News’ and PLZ consider signing the letter to USA MSM to NOT follow FOX’s drumbeat to war. Again!
http://foxattacks.com/iran
Thanks for Doing Something,
e
http://www.wearewideawake.org/



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squeaky

posted August 24, 2007 at 3:26 pm


Moderatelad,
It is of primary importance that we UNDERSTAND the roots of Iranian attitudes toward the United States, hence the importance of us understanding our history with the Shah. If the US was at fault in its support of the Shah, it would probably help relations with Iran if the US owned that fault, instead of trying to rationalize it away or dismiss it by saying “it’s ancient history. Get over it.” It is NOT ancient history, and our expectation that they just get over it is arrogant and does nothing to reconcile past problems. Past problems NEED to be reconciled in order to move forward. Admitting mistakes and faults would be an excellent starting point in creating a dialogue with that nation.
I wish the US were perfect and that we had nothing to apologize for. But we aren’t, and dismissing our mistakes with excuses like “at least we do a lot of good for the world” or “at least we are better than such and such a country” does nothing to excuse us for the mistakes we have made. I know you have kids–when they make mistakes, do you not discipline them? Or do you just let it go because overall they are great kids? Do their mistakes make them less of a good kid? Do you not still love them when they do make mistakes? And yet, it would be negligent of you not to discipline them when they do make mistakes, would it not? What kind of message would that send to them if you overlook mistakes because overall they are just great kids?



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Ross K

posted August 24, 2007 at 4:28 pm


It is a fantasy of mine that the enemies of our country, our friends and our G-d (like the IRGC) would be blown off the map. But that’s not going to happen. Our attempts in the Middle East prove it. Our actions breed enemies many times greater than the numbers we initially go to fight.
Not being a biblical scholar nor an expert on the Quran I welcome challenges to anything I say and references to either of the aforementioned books would be appreciated.
As Christians the Great Commission does not tell us to conquer the world in the same way as the Muslims seem to believe they are commanded by the Quran. The Crusaders may have felt differently. The only way I see for a real possiblility of peace is by the blood that has already been shed- on the Cross. It is only by our Messiah that peace can be had between Muslims and Christians and also Muslims and Jews.
So why aren’t more of us going to battle against Islam with “the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.” Where are those of us who will take this battle to the Muslim world. Who will defend the God and Creator of the universe against the god of the moon? Aren’t our prophets, who even when the were angry with God never prophesied an untruth, greater than Mohammad who prophesied from fits that are described like epileptic seizures and said himself that when Allah spoke to him in one ear, Satan spoke to him in his other ear, and that he couldn’t discern who spoke what so he put it all down in the Quran to let the reader decide which were Allah’s words? Can we not stand up for our God who tells us to never bear false witness, against a god who says it is OK to lie for profit or to prevent hurt feelings? Don’t we have something better to offer, God’s promise of salvation and eternal life, as compared to a life of works and ultimately the whim of Allah who never promises such?
The Great Commission is not just a good read.



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Wolverine

posted August 24, 2007 at 5:03 pm


Robert Alu wrote:
Today many of us think (oh we may not say so outrightly, because we ‘follow’ him) that Christ was crazy to declare: “Blessed are the
peacemakers, for they shall be called Sons of God.” And: “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword”.

I don’t think Jesus was crazy in the least for saying those things. I do think that the Christian left is applying those sayings in crazy ways.
Peacemaking is undeniably a noble thing, but actually making a lasting peace requires more than just talk. Note that Jesus did not say “blessed are the diplomats” or “blessed are the negotiators, let alone “blessed are the appeasers”.
Wolverine



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Rick Nowlin

posted August 24, 2007 at 5:07 pm


Ross K — I don’t think I could have put it better myself. The problem is that we’ve allowed the Islamic fanatics to bring us down to our level. The Great Commission implies that we Christians are to live differently than the rest of the world.



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Wolverine

posted August 24, 2007 at 5:26 pm


Jesse, Kevin
The thing about Jindal is that Sojo is doing the left no favors by pretending the whole thing didn’t happen, even if their sole purpose really is to serve as a Christian mouthpice for the Democratic party. This kind of toxic misuse of religion will only turn off Christian voters, and if Sojo can’t explain why nobody else is going to.
A couple more of these and the Evangelical Left is liable to implode. I would think that Jim Wallis would want to avoid that, but hey, it’s his movement, not mine.
Wolverine



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Rick Nowlin

posted August 24, 2007 at 6:19 pm


The thing about Jindal is that Sojo is doing the left no favors by pretending the whole thing didn’t happen, even if their sole purpose really is to serve as a Christian mouthpiece for the Democratic party. This kind of toxic misuse of religion will only turn off Christian voters, and if Sojo can’t explain why nobody else is going to.
I have doubts about the veracity of the story, to tell you the truth. To my knowledge it’s been reported only on the Fox News Channel, whose record of distorting the news is legendary — that is, except to die-hard conservatives. I wonder why none of the other media picked it up — perhaps it’s a tempest in a teapot? If you think I’m simply dismissing Fox, then explain why the “war on Christmas” that went on in the fall of 2004 proved mostly bogus (I checked out some of those stories myself).



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kevin s.

posted August 24, 2007 at 6:48 pm


“I have doubts about the veracity of the story, to tell you the truth”
Go to Google news. Even Jindal’s opponents are decrying the ad.



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Rick Nowlin

posted August 24, 2007 at 7:44 pm


Go to Google news. Even Jindal’s opponents are decrying the ad.
I know the person who heads the Catholic anti-bigotry group mentioned, and he’s a firebrand who tends to get bent out of shape over virtually nothing. Besides, outside of Louisiana that still doesn’t make it news. I did some checking, and Jindal is no paragon of virtue himself.
From that same AP story:
Campbell, D-Elm Grove, said Jindal needed to “quit squealing” about attack ads. He said a Jindal campaign ad that started running statewide this week that compares Campbell and Boasso to clowns shoving their pockets with cash and unable to fight corruption is untrue, but he wasn’t calling to take it off the air.



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Wolverine

posted August 24, 2007 at 10:38 pm


Rick,
I suspect it all gets down to evidence: Jindal can prove that the ad directed at him was false, while Campbell and Boasso can’t do the same with the ad directed at them.
Wolverine



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Rick Nowlin

posted August 24, 2007 at 11:32 pm


I suspect it all gets down to evidence: Jindal can prove that the ad directed at him was false, while Campbell and Boasso can’t do the same with the ad directed at them.
Irrelevant; remember, political ads cannot be censored. Besides, it wasn’t entirely false, just taken out of context.



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kevin s.

posted August 25, 2007 at 2:28 am


“I know the person who heads the Catholic anti-bigotry group mentioned, and he’s a firebrand who tends to get bent out of shape over virtually nothing.”
I’m not sure who you are referencing. I’m glad you believe that the ad exists.
“I did some checking, and Jindal is no paragon of virtue himself.”
Did you not know who Bobby Jindal was before this story broke? I knew who it was immediately, and not because I have the names of every Republican congressman memorized.
“Irrelevant; remember, political ads cannot be censored.”
They can, but why is Wolverine’s point irrelevant? Virtually every campaign uses attack ads, for the reason that they are effective. The point here is that the mere mention of religious writings can be used as an attack. Or, rather, cynical political operatives thought so.
If this were an attack on a Catholic Democrat, we would be on our 58th Sojo post on this issue. They’d probably even let Ryan Rodrick Beiler take a stab at it…
Kidding, Ryan.



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Anonymous

posted August 25, 2007 at 2:58 am


“Peacemaking is undeniably a noble thing, but actually making a lasting peace requires more than just talk. Note that Jesus did not say “blessed are the diplomats” or “blessed are the negotiators, let alone “blessed are the appeasers”.”
Hi Wolverine, Others,
What Jesu said about peacemaking was, obviously, very profound. Possibly he just expects us to “walk the talk”, “preach water and drink water” etc?
Well,
The thing about the Christian left, left behind, Christian right, or wrong, whatever … only serves to 1. Make us understand a little of how American politics works and 2. Highlights exactly what is wrong with the church today, that is, division.
I am forced to agree with Francis A Schaeffer who wrote: Central to semantics is the idea that a word as a symbol has no meaning until content is put into it. This is quite correct. Because the wrord CHRISTIAN as a symbol has been made to mean so little, it has come to mean everything and nothing.”
I do not know who thinks Jesus is crazy, but I do wonder, sometimes, why he would choose to be born in colonised Palestine and not hyperpower USA?
Now, please exercise a little imagination: what would happen if Iran were the predominantly ‘Christian’ nation and the USA were mostly Muslim? Think about it … Which nation would be in the others neighborhood, causing fear in the population?
I have the great good fortune of living in a society where Muslims and Chrsitians are almost 1 to 1 in the population. In terms of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ there is no monopoly according to creed. Some of the noblest individuals, VISIBLY exhibiting the Fruit of the Spirit (as we read of it in Galatians)that I have met are Muslims.
Sadly very little in the way of ‘love and humility’ comes through from the ‘Christian’ western media, which we see here thanks to American televangelists and so on.
I am sorry, but such is my experience.
If Jesus addressed each of his followers to individually leave everything else and follow him surely the fear that we may get killed if we practise our faith faithfully (excuse me) is misplaced.
When he promised his disciples “peace”, “not as the world gives” it meant death for almost all of them. Throughout history Christians have walked singing triumphantly to their death in defense of the faith, even in the hands of fellow ‘Christians’.
Sure – some Christians have given their lives for other, less noble causes, like their countries.
There is a difference, right?
- Alu
Dar es Salaam



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Wolverine

posted August 25, 2007 at 9:48 am


Rick Nowlin wrote:
Irrelevant; remember, political ads cannot be censored. Besides, it wasn’t entirely false, just taken out of context.
Rick forgets that campaign ads are not exempt from libel law, and that TV stations that run the ad after receiving notice that the ads are false can be held liable as well.
Now libel is tough to prove (and in the campaign context that’s for the best IMHO) but there’s a particular claim that the Louisiana Democratic Party made: Jindal called Protestants degenerates, among other things. If reading the context leads one to understand that Jindal did not call Protestants degenerates, then what you have is a false statement that could be the basis for a libel suit against the Louisiana Democratic Party and against stations that continue to run the ad.
But what’s more important, your brother in Christ just got smeared, and you and Sojo seem to be okay with that. Hope you don’t mind the backlash then.
Wolverine



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Rick Nowlin

posted August 25, 2007 at 10:34 am


Did you not know who Bobby Jindal was before this story broke?
Yes, I did know.
The point here is that the mere mention of religious writings can be used as an attack. Or, rather, cynical political operatives thought so.
When you’re in the public eye everything you do is fair game, especially when running for office. And as for “cynical political operatives,” remember one word: Whitewater.
Speaking of Clinton, I remember during the 1996 campaign that he and the Democratic Party accused the Republicans of trying to cut Medicare by $270 billion. True? Not exactly — that figure referred to a cut in the proposed increase. This story is along that line.
Now libel is tough to prove (and in the campaign context that’s for the best IMHO) but there’s a particular claim that the Louisiana Democratic Party made: Jindal called Protestants degenerates, among other things.
If you read the story I’m referencing, the Louisiana Democratic Party did quote the pieces accurately — but out of context. Meanwhile, Jindal’s people flat-out lied in his spot against his opponents. Seems Jindal got his hands caught in the cookie jar and folks are trying to make a near-Federal case about it.



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Rick Nowlin

posted August 25, 2007 at 10:45 am


The thing about the Christian left, left behind, Christian right, or wrong, whatever … only serves to 1. Make us understand a little of how American politics works and 2. Highlights exactly what is wrong with the church today, that is, division.
What’s really wrong with the Church here in America is that our values have seeped so much into the culture that you can’t tell the diffence sometimes. On the other hand, the LORD has always called His people — whether ancient Israel or the Church — to be distinct from the the rest of the world. The problem with the Christian right is, and always has been, that it has always sought to be the authority at the expense of everyone else, even teaming with non-believers to do so. I see no way you can be a Christian and ideological conservative outside of that context. (The Christian “left,” on the other hand, is not that well defined.)



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A. Melik

posted August 25, 2007 at 1:24 pm


To Ross K Gentlemen,
The only sensible thing in your post is the disclaimer “Not being a biblical scholar nor an expert on the Quran I welcome challenges to anything I say and references to either of the aforementioned books would be appreciated.”
I shall take you up at your kind invitation and here are some Quranic quotes to help you to learn about Islam:
You have inquired: “Who will defend the God and Creator of the universe against the god of the moon?”
My Answer: Muslims concept of monotheism and equality of all people in the eyes of God surpasses that of any religion. Muslims do not worship a god of the moon! In fact Chapter 21, Verse 33 states:” And HE it is WHO createth the night and the day, and the sun and the moon. They float each in an orbit.” To hear that the sun also floated, was an enigma for a very long time to a pre-Galileo; and for you to observe that Muslims worship “a god of the moon” when He states that He Himself has createth the moon, is illogical.
Here is the opening verse from the Quran; “Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds.” Or in Chapter 61, verse 1: ”All that is in the heavens and all earth glorifieth Allah, and He is the Mighty , the Wise”.
Then in Chapter 6, verses 96-99: “He it is that…makes the night for rest and tranquility, and the sun and moon for the reckoning of time…It is He who makes the stars for you that you may guide yourselves with their help, through the dark spaces over land and sea…It is He who has produced you from a single being…We have detailed Our revelations for a people who have understanding…It is He that sends down rain…and therewith We bring forth the green blade from which we bring forth the rich clustered grain; and from the date palm, from the pollen thereof, spring pendant branches…Look upon the fruits thereof …Lo! Herein are portents for a people who believe.”
Allah contiues in verses 100 and 106: “Yet they attribute to Him as partners…and impute falsely without knowledge, sons and daughters unto Him. Glorifieth be He and high exalteth above all…The Originator of the heavens and the earth! How can He have a child when there is for Him no Consort, when He createth all things…Such is Allah your Lord. There is no god save Him, the Creator of all things, so worship Him. And He has the power to dispose all affairs…No vision can grasp Him but His grasp is over all vision. He is above all comprehension…Thus do We explain the Signs by various symbols… there is no god save Him; and turn away from idolators.”
Again in chapter 25, Verse2-3 we read: “He to whom belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth: no son has He begotten, nor has He a partner in His dominion: It is He who createth all things, and orderd them in due proportions. Yet they have taken besides Him gods that can create nothing but are themselves created…nor can they control Death, nor Life nor Resurrection.”
The above quotes are from two very reliable translations: Marmaduke Pickthall and Yusuf Ali.
You write, “…Mohammad who prophesied from fits that are described like epileptic seizures”
This is an old accusation cast by early anti-Muslim Christian writers but has been abandoned long ago now because it did not stand to scrutiny. To begin with, it is totally against what epilepsy does to a man. In an epileptic fit, a person can’t even talk, leave alone speak in magnificent poetry that has not been equaled in Arabic literature since or before.Besides this, teh Quran has laws and dictates that (contrary to popular Western belief) are very righteous.
You further state “…(Muhammed) said himself that when Allah spoke to him in one ear, Satan spoke to him in his other ear, and that he couldn’t discern who spoke what so he put it all down in the Quran to let the reader decide which were Allah’s words?”
Nonsense. Muhammad never said anything like that. Again, a fiction. why don’t you, instead of reading anti-Muslim writers read what Muslims (Dr. kbar Ali)have to say? If you do not trust Muslims, then read Karen Armstrong. Does one read Himmler or Goebels to understand Jews?
“Can we not stand up for our God who tells us to never bear false witness, against a god who says it is OK to lie for profit or to prevent hurt feelings?”
Wrong again. Quran never never says to lie for a profit and neither did Muhammed. Find me a quote.
You ask: “Don’t we have something better to offer…?”
Yes you do. But it has not been tried yet and there is no point in my telling it here for this site is full of people reeking with hate, who have no concepts nor alternativs to offer except bombing any Muslim country that does not bow down to USA. Then also there is the other set who are puffed up with a “better than thou” attitude.
Very few Christians here that I can discern!



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Mick Sheldon

posted August 25, 2007 at 4:37 pm


Very few Christians here that I can discern!
Posted by: A. Melik
ME
A melik you obviously do not have the gift of discernment , but do understand your passion .
I think the fact Iran is allowing weapons to filter into Iraq , plus past comments of their President , anti west policies , anti human right policies of their government , plus their history , leaves many people concerned about their intent with of obtaining Nuclear weapons . Is it to protect or attack ?
Consider this , you appear to be quite informed , and you are calling Christian minded people who disagree full of hate , etc . The Middle East is a complicated area , of the world to most of us .
Why did you consider using those words to debate your issues, and yet willing to promote a view from this editorialist that words will build a bridge between us and Iran . You seem to believe this is the solution , yet the first chance you throw out condemnation . You see my point , you are so willing to embrace an idea that peace can be found with wrods , but when the situation is right in front of you you go on the attack yourself .
I hope we never put American boots in the Middle east ever again either. But I don’t trust the Iranian government .



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Moderatelad

posted August 25, 2007 at 10:39 pm


Posted by: squeaky | August 24, 2007 3:26 PM
‘…help relations with Iran if the US owned that fault…’
OK – if we were to appologize – what else are they going to complain about – the fall of the Ottoman Empire? No one in the world is appologizing for the bombing of Pearl Harbor. When the Shah was in power – yes he was not the ‘nicest’ man around. But I had friends that grew up under the Shah and would gladly go back it a ‘Shah’ was still in power. The mid-east was a more quiter place with the Shah there and the US backing him. Now look what is happening there.
Not sure that the ‘kid’ anology works in this case. Yes I parent my children and at time discipline them. Then there are times, as I am trying to raise ‘adults’ even when they are in Junior High – that I have to let them make mistakes and not do the ‘I told you so’ routine. But to mentor them on how they might have done it better if they had ‘whatever’.
I believe that Ike saw that what was going on in Iran was not just bad for US but for the world. The US can take care of it’s self. But there are so many little countries that would have been in danger in that region it he did not step in at that time. I believe that Kennedy was correct in handling Cuba. The invasion should have worked if he had stuck to the origional plan but he recolied. (something about ‘hand to the plow’ comes to mind) Kennedy was correct in the blockade of Cuba and that worked – something that Sojo – Wallis and other Authors on this site would never support today – in my never to be humble opinion.
Blessing on you!
.



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kevin s.

posted August 25, 2007 at 10:43 pm


“Does one read Himmler or Goebels to understand Jews?”
No, we read Jews to understand Himmler and Goebels.



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neuro_nurse

posted August 26, 2007 at 5:28 pm


“The plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Muslims; these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind’s judge on the last day.”
Catechism of the Catholic Church 841
Seek peace and pursue it.
neuro_nurse (Catholic, and former resident of Tehran)



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Rick Nowlin

posted August 26, 2007 at 10:20 pm


The invasion should have worked if he had stuck to the origional plan but he recolied. (something about ‘hand to the plow’ comes to mind) Kennedy was correct in the blockade of Cuba and that worked – something that Sojo – Wallis and other Authors on this site would never support today – in my never to be humble opinion.
Charles Colson brought out something that most people, yours truly included, didn’t know. We had had missiles in Turkey pointed at the Soviets, and those too were removed.



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neuro_nurse

posted August 27, 2007 at 1:25 pm


“We had had missiles in Turkey pointed at the Soviets”
My grandfather was an explosives expert who helped build the missile silos in Turkey.



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Ron Rogers

posted August 27, 2007 at 1:55 pm


My God … haven’t we learned anything from the idiocy of the Iraq war?



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Mick Sheldon

posted August 27, 2007 at 3:59 pm


Ross K said
God’s promise of salvation and eternal life, as compared to a life of works and ultimately the whim of Allah who never promises such?
The Great Commission is not just a good read.
The debate winning point if I ever heard one .



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neuro_nurse

posted August 27, 2007 at 4:47 pm


“In an epileptic fit, a person can’t even talk, leave alone speak in magnificent poetry that has not been equaled in Arabic literature since or before.” A. Melik
It is not my intention to contradict your thesis; however, there are many different types of seizures. Partial-complex seizures can be manifested by religious utterances.
That being said, I am probably one of the few people posting on this thread that has actually read the Koran, lived in Muslim countries, and has a tremendous amount of respect for Islam and its adherents.
Salaam alaikum!



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Hali

posted August 27, 2007 at 9:16 pm


I think Al Hujwiri sounds a lot more Christlike than a lot of the “Christians” I’ve read on this blog ;)



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Susan

posted August 28, 2007 at 1:58 am


Talk to whom? Yes, we should talk to the people of Iran. However, the president of Iran is a Holocaust denying antisemite and we should not be afraid of saying so. That is not demonising or war-mongering. That is the truth.
Talking to the present leadership would give prestige to their views. It makes them seen acceptable.
Ironically, Ahmadindejad’s antisemitism does not come from Islamic sources. It is mostly adopted from Western Christian antisemitism.



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A. Melik

posted August 28, 2007 at 3:10 am


Dear Neuro Nurse,
In regards to your statement, “It is not my intention to contradict your thesis; however, there are many different types of seizures. Partial-complex seizures can be manifested by religious utterances.”
My question is: isn’t this “partial-complex seizure” also an obvious ‘seizure’ of some kind that can be recognised as such by the viewers? And isn’t epilepsy one of our more older maladies and well known to the ancients? Would they not have immediately daignosed it and called it as such? If they could in the case of Julius Caeser in 44 BC, why not Muhammed, in 612 AD? They knew trances and they knew epileptic seizures and its accompanied “utterances”, religious or secular. They were not that ignorant.
Second, why did Muhammed never in his lifetime (previous to his call to Islam when he was in his forties,) never get these so called “seizures” ever before? Also, why did they never come by themselves on their own, unaccompanied by revelations?
As for your statement. “Partial-complex seizures can be manifested by religious utterances” I beg to inquire, have seizures as these been known to issue detailed laws relating to inheritance, good manners, charity to neighbours, kindness to animals, how much income should be donated to charities and under which situations can one go to wars and when not? Have the “utterances” of your “partial epileptic seizures” included all these or were they merely, “utterances” and nothing more? You say that you have read the Quran; so do you honestly, sincerely believe that it all has emanated from a “partial epileptic seizure”? Really?
I know that it is hard for many of us in the west to accept the fact that Muhammed could indeed have received true revelation, for its basic tenet “There is no god save One God, Allah”, under Whom all men are equal does shake the foundations of our own beliefs. But again, just entertain the impossible, what if his revelations were real? Why not explore dispassionately, that possibility? Why reject it outrightly without a sincere questioning? And I mean a sincere one, indeed.



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neuro_nurse

posted August 28, 2007 at 11:43 am


A. Melik,
Relax! I’m on your side.
I do not believe that the Koran is the product of epilepsy. Neuro_nurse is more than just my moniker, it’s my profession. Epilepsy, or seizure disorder, can be manifested as a dysfunction of practically any cortical function.
“isn’t this “partial-complex seizure” also an obvious ‘seizure’ of some kind that can be recognised as such by the viewers?”
Perhaps, but not necessarily. There are seizures that the person experiencing them may not recognize as a seizure. Take for example, olfactory seizures, which are experienced as the sensation of an odor, or seizures of the auditory or visual areas of the brain which are experienced as hallucinations. Seizures can be subtle and only perceived as a minor nuisance.
“Would they not have immediately daignosed it and called it as such?”
I have seen some extremely bizarre psychomotor seizures (partial-complex) – seizures that were completely misinterpreted as psychological symptoms by doctors who witnessed them.
My purpose, as I said, was not to contradict your thesis. I absolutely do not believe that there is any evidence in the Koran or elsewhere that Muhammad had a seizure disorder. My sole purpose was to correct a misperception about epilepsy. Thank you for allowing me to elaborate.
For further information about seizure disorder or any other neurological disorder, I recommend starting with the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke: http://www.ninds.nih.gov
I also strongly recommend that non-Muslims who have questions or concerns about, or prejudice against Islam read the Koran. It’s not just a good read.
Salaam alaikum!



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Rick Nowlin

posted August 28, 2007 at 12:03 pm


I know that it is hard for many of us in the west to accept the fact that Muhammad could indeed have received true revelation, for its basic tenet “There is no god save One God, Allah”, under Whom all men are equal does shake the foundations of our own beliefs.
Orthodox Christians — and I don’t mean the branch of Christianity — have several problems with Islam which have nothing to do with Muhammad as a person.
1) We believe that Jesus Himself represents the final “revelation” and that the “canon” is thus closed; all that’s left is “illumination” to what already exists. For that reason, any “revelations” to Muhammad we consider irrelevant.
2) We believe, and Jesus Himself all but said, that He is divine. Islam categorically rejects His divinity.
3) We believe that God and His ways can be known on a personal level. Islam does not appear to support this view.
And there are probably more besides these.



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neuro_nurse

posted August 28, 2007 at 12:33 pm


Rick Nowlin,
Now that we’ve established a set of beliefs we do not share, can we find some common ground upon which to base a dialog?
The Jewish faith does not accept the divinity of Jesus, and yet we, for the most part, seem to manage to maintain a cordial interreligious relationship with Jews.
Contrary to popular opinion, Muslims are not our enemy (get over it people!), any more than Jews are.
Peace!



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Don

posted August 28, 2007 at 2:36 pm


“Talking to the present leadership would give prestige to their views. It makes them seen acceptable.”
Susan, we disliked and distrusted the Soviets for four decades. We still kept talking to them. Our engaging them in conversation and/or diplomacy wouldn’t legitimate their views any more than our diplomacy with the Soviets legitimated their views.
“I also strongly recommend that non-Muslims who have questions or concerns about, or prejudice against Islam read the Koran. It’s not just a good read.”
I certainly agree, but unless one is a Muslim and/or is already familiar with the Qur’an and its teachings, trying to read the Qur’an straight through from cover to cover is pretty tough going. The longer, more didactic and harder to comprehend chapters are in the front. A better approach, in my view, is outlined by Michael Sells in his book, Approaching the Qur’an: The Early Revelations. Sells guides readers through the later chapters (called suras), which are short and more poetic; the ones, as the subtitle indicates, were among the Prophet’s earliest revelations. Sells structures his approach to understanding the Qur’an on the way young Muslim children are normally taught. Sells’ English translations are very good as well, and as a bonus, the book comes with a CD recording of authentic Qur’an recitations from various Islamic countries.
“Contrary to popular opinion, Muslims are not our enemy…”
How true, yet how difficult for many to understand.
I’ve been blessed in one of my composition classes this summer by about seven or eight Muslim students. I’ve allowed all the students to write on religious topics and have had some good essays and excellent dialogue. We’ve all learned a lot this term. I will be sad to see it end.
wa `alaykum as-salaam,



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Don

posted August 28, 2007 at 2:42 pm


In my reply to Susan’s statement, I inadvertantly made a very unclear pronoun reference:
“Our engaging them in conversation and/or diplomacy wouldn’t legitimate their views…”
I should have specified, “Our engaging the Iranians in conversation and/or diplomacy wouldn’t legitimate their views…”
D



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neuro_nurse

posted August 28, 2007 at 2:57 pm


“unless one is a Muslim and/or is already familiar with the Qur’an and its teachings, trying to read the Qur’an straight through from cover to cover is pretty tough going” Don
True. Probably no less true than suggesting that if one reads the Bible cover-to-cover he will have a comprehensive understanding of Christianity – or the Jewish faith. Thanks for your suggestions.



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Rick Nowlin

posted August 28, 2007 at 3:40 pm


Now that we’ve established a set of beliefs we do not share, can we find some common ground upon which to base a dialog?
It is by understanding the differences that we can understand what we might have in common. However, to believe that they can be simply papered over, as some liberals suggest, is unrealistic. I think it is good for Christians to understand Islam even if they can’t accept it on a theological level and you’ll never hear me equate it with terrorism, but many Muslims also have misconceptions about Christianity — for example, that Christians worship three gods — that we need to correct.
Six years ago, in the aftermath of 9/11, I interviewed several Muslims about their experiences, and they told me that a few more people decided to learn more about Islam than before. I also learned two years ago that a former pastor of my former church, whose grandparents came over from Syria, and whenever he teaches about Islam — he’s been over there and people tried to convert him — the church is packed out.
The Jewish faith does not accept the divinity of Jesus, and yet we, for the most part, seem to manage to maintain a cordial interreligious relationship with Jews.
That’s a different situation altogether. Christianity, of course, started out as a sect of Judaism and most of the original Christians were still Jews. (In fact, I think the reason Christians began worshipping on Sundays is because Jewish believers were still going to temple on Saturdays!) And, whether we like to admit it or not, there’s still a bit of anti-Semitism running around — a few hours ago I took a phone call from a woman who said she was cancelling her subcription to our newspaper because it was becoming too “pro-Jewish.” Islam’s relationship with Judaism and Christianity, on the other hand, is considerably less tenuous.



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janet pierce

posted September 2, 2007 at 11:26 pm


FYI…I recently heard through my dtr-in-law, who along with my son were MCC exchange students in Iran from ’04-’06, that the Iranian Islamic leader exchange will not be happening. This was to be the second half of the religious leader exchange of when US religious leaders visited Iran in Feb. of this year. The trip and visas were refused by the US govt..



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icon archive

posted September 17, 2012 at 3:55 am


I consider, that you are not right. I am assured. Let’s discuss.

P.S. Please review icons



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Audio: Jim Wallis on "Value Voters" on The Tavis Smiley Show
Last week Jim was on The Tavis Smiley Show and talked about how the changing political landscape will affect the upcoming '08 election. Jim and Ken Blackwell, former Ohio secretary of state, debated and discussed both the impact of "value voters" on the election and what those values entail. + Down

posted 10:11:56am Oct. 16, 2007 | read full post »

Verse of the Day: 'peace to the far and the near'
I have seen their ways, but I will heal them; I will lead them and repay them with comfort, creating for their mourners the fruit of the lips. Peace, peace, to the far and the near, says the Lord; and I will heal them. But the wicked are like the tossing sea that cannot keep still; its waters toss u

posted 9:35:01am Oct. 16, 2007 | read full post »

Daily News Digest (by Duane Shank)
the latest news on Mideast, Iran, Romney-Religious right, Blog action day, Turkey, SCHIP, Iran, Aids-Africa, India, Budget, Brownback-slavery apology, Canada, and selected op-eds. Sign up to receive our daily news summary via e-mail » Blog action day. Thousands of bloggers unite in blitz of green

posted 9:31:25am Oct. 16, 2007 | read full post »




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