Many seem to agree on one thing when it comes to Muslims… they don’t agree.  Why is Islam so polarizing? Who represents these 1.6 billion people? What Ben Affleck and Sam Harris both miss in their recent debate.
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Here starts the auto-generated transcription of Polarized Views of Muslims: Will the Real Muslim Please Stand Up:

Once again, Muslim terrorists A terrorist Islamic extremist. These are the mistresses of the country. Random justice and brutal endeavors. Newsflash America. These is not irrelevant.It is a warning. Welcome to the truth about Muslims podcast, the official podcast of the Swimmer Center For Muslim Studies, where we help to educate you beyond the media. Here are your hosts, Howard and Trevor. Alright. Here we are.

Episode number 2. The Truth About Muslims podcast with our sponsors this week. Columbia International University, as always, CIU educates people from a biblical worldview to impact the nations with the message of Christ. Check them out at I’m pretty sure you don’t have to say the www part.

Just just Is that on the recording? Sorry. I just haven’t heard www. I bet you’re like okay.

No. Let’s go with it. Let’s go with it. And and our other our other sponsor is the Zwemer Center For Muslim Studies at at CIU. The Zwemer Center has been equipping the church to reach Muslims and training the church to understand Islam since 1979.

Just something to say about CIU too is that, I graduated there from there, and, I really love that school. And I I don’t know. This is just a sponsor of ours and I could just say whatever, you know, they tell me to say. But, you know, I just wanted to say that I I really do actually love CIU. So And, I I also graduated from there and I like it so much that I work there.

So it’s really kinda funny. This week, we were we were looking at some opportunities to, take students overseas and, I had to bust out the old school missionary skills of trying to figure out how much would it cost per day for us to take a team overseas and I was reminded of a trip that you and I did together several years back. Wait, wait. Where are you taking these kids? Well, we were actually talking about going to Central Asia.

Cool. But where we went several years back, do you remember? Several years? Several years. We’re talking this is 14 years ago.

That’s more than several. Well, yeah. You and me, we went to Maldives. That’s right. Before we went to Maldives though, we were in London.

In the UK for a month and I think we had set our budget at about $10.10 a day. Well, I think originally it was, like, 20 a day and then we spent, like, 19 of it a day in the UK. Right. It killed our budget. We got to the So expensive.

We got to the Maldives assuming since the Maldives was in South Asia, it was probably one of the cheapest countries to live in. And so we figured we’d be fine on about $5 a day. That was a lie. And we had loaf of bread and Nutella pretty much for breakfast all day, every day. And the guys, we were lucky because we could go into tea shops.

The ladies weren’t allowed in those tea shops. Remember the the short eats? The tea shops. The basically, the little appetizers. They’re they’re delightful appetizers anytime of the day.

Right. And, you just get a cup of black tea, which is really sweet. Did did they sweeten it or did we sweeten it? No. They would sweeten it.

It tastes like hot sweet tea. Right. But it was so sweet. It was so sweet. Like Bojangles would have competition.

I don’t know why hot sweet tea tasted so good on a hot humid island. Right. And there was, there was no milk. It was just, you know, black I mean, it was black tea. I mean But but, anyway, what I was thinking about and I was telling somebody at work was, we we showed up in this this island nation and, we had very little money to our name.

By the time we had secured a guest house, we had almost nothing left for dinner and then we realized to go anywhere, we needed a taxi because it was just way too hot to walk anywhere and we had no money, we had no food. And Howard had this excellent idea about halfway through our 2 month stay. He wanted to it was rent a boat. No. No.

No. No. No. No. No.

No. We didn’t rent the boat. 1 of our friends, you know, we had we had made, friends with 1 of the the islanders and, his dad offered to rent us a boat. You remember? Well, I don’t remember how it came about.

I just know that I came home one evening and Howard said, hey, guess what? We’re going on a boat for the next 2 weeks. So we It was a week. It wasn’t 2 weeks. I don’t think it was more like 2 weeks, but we’ll settle on 10 days.

It was short for us, but for you it felt like an eternity, I’m sure. So I couldn’t go on the boat because earlier in that week I had, broke my ankle playing soccer. Okay. Let’s let’s be honest here. You could go if you wanted to.

Yeah. Howard was my, he was my team leader and he just said, hey, We’re going on a boat and I kinda looked at him and I thought I got a cast on my leg. What am I gonna do on a boat for a week? And he’s like, watch us swim. It is, the Indian Ocean.

We’re gonna go island hopping. We’re gonna go visit all these villages. We’re gonna have an awesome time. And I’m thinking, I’m gonna be sitting there in a cast. I can’t go on a boat.

Right. And so, what was the solution then? Do do you guys hear my dog barking? It’s usually the mailman, but it’s not today. The solution was that you stayed you decided to stay back.

And I and I gave you an allowance, per day and, and you had a great time. Tell us about what So we had we we we had all these bags and we couldn’t fit them on the boat. It’s a relatively small boat and so we did we we kept one guest house room, and we filled it with all of the bags and myself and my crutches. And Howard gave me if I remember correctly, correct me if I’m wrong, Howard. Maybe in my mind it’s exaggerated, but Howard gave me $3 a day to survive on.

Liar. Okay. I don’t remember. It could have been. It could have very well been 14 years ago, it it might not be in my head still.

So I don’t remember if it was $3 but, however, so that that means I sincerely believe that it was adequate adequate enough to survive. And it and it would have been considering that I could have gone to tea shop and eaten for a dollar. Mhmm. $3 a day in Howard’s mind, that’s one meal a day, he should be fine. Except for the fact that I had a cast and I had to walk with crutches and I had to take a taxi anywhere I wanted to go.

So to get to the tea shop cost me a dollar, to get home from the tea shop cost me a dollar, so I’m down to 1 meal a day. You’re lucky that island was like a mile wide. So Crutches. I’m on crutches. Right, right, but the taxis couldn’t have been that expensive.

So so it really it really created an interesting opportunity for me so I would be able to call these, this network of young Muslim guys that I had met over the last, month. Trevor is a surfer if you didn’t know, but, he would just sit there and surf pretty much all day whenever the well, actually, the break was always, the waves were always awesome. It was really good surf. And so I would call these guys and they would show up and they kinda developed a little bit of a schedule, like, one guy would show up in the morning to bring me breakfast, another guy would show up in the afternoon and give me a ride to the surf break, somebody would come in the afternoon and give me a ride back to my place and then somebody would give me dinner. And then they got they were so concerned about my well-being that at one point a guy just volunteered to stay with me and he’s like, I’m just gonna stay for the next week.

Yeah. As Howard says, I’d say 2 weeks. We we nicknamed him smiley because he was always smiling and he had dreads too. He looked like a he looked like a Maldivian Bob Marley. Yeah.

Awesome guy. And he he he basically just shows up on the, like, 2nd night, and he’s got his backpack and his clothes and some food that his mom gave him to give to me. And he’s like, I’m moving in. I said, alright. So we’re sitting there.

It’s the first night, and, it’s a it’s a small room, double bed. I’m just laying on one side of the bed. He’s laying on the other side of the bed and and I said, hey, Seanie. Do you do you pray? And he says, yeah.

I pray. And and he’s a Muslim. Right? He’s a Muslim kid. I I said, I pray too.

Can I pray for you? He said, okay. You pray for me and I’ll pray for you. And I was like, right now? And he’s like, yes.

Let’s pray together. You pray and I’ll pray. So I’m sitting there and I start praying and I’m, like, God, I just thank you so much for my friend Johnny. I pray God that and all of a sudden I hear him praying and he’s praying a little bit louder than me. So I kinda pick up the the volume a little bit and pray a little bit louder.

And then he prays a little bit louder. And then by the end of, like, 30 seconds, we’re shouting in the room praying trying to figure out I felt like it was one of those moments with, like, prophets of Baal. Like, he’s screaming to to God. I’m screaming to God. And we’re both praying that God would bless the other person and it was just one of those really funny experiences that happened with a Muslim.

It’s a bless off. It it was a bless off. So who who won? I’m not really sure. I was a little bit concerned, like, secret police would come breaking down the door and arrest one of us.

Wait. So so do Muslims generally pray like that? Okay. So when we think about Islam, we often think that they only pray in one way and it’s the way we see on the news Yeah. Where they get down on their knees and they prostrate and they put their head on the ground.

Facing Mecca. Right. And that’s the typical raka, the style, the ritualistic prayer that we see. But there’s other types of prayer in Islam. There’s actually a couple different types.

1, and that was the one that that he was doing that night was it’s called dua and it’s a basically petition to God. It’s the way that most Christians pray. And when I say most Christians, I mean, we have ritualistic prayer too. Right? Right.

High church. High church. Anglican. Lord’s prayer, liturgies. There you go.

But we also have personal prayer. We sit around at the dinner table. We have prayers. We have prayers some with our children at night. Right.

Before they go to bed. There you go. So we have ritualistic, but but a little bit more personal. Yeah. And then there’s personal prayer.

Muslims have that. And then they also have something called zikr, which is, more of a Say that again? Zikr. Zikr? Yep.

Okay. And it’s a, more of a liturgical type prayer. And a lot of times, you’ll see them carrying beads, prayer beads. Okay. So I thought about it, and I asked somebody the other day, would it be odd if I carried around some beads around the campus?

And this is a conservative Christian college, and so some I said, no. They’re not they’re not Catholic beads and they’re they’re not, Muslim beads. I was thinking The Buddhist beads. Yeah. Buddhist beads.

And so they just beads wouldn’t be a good idea. But, anyway, the thought was the 99 names of God, that’s a a form of of thikr where they will literally rotate the 33 beads in their fingers three times and each time they recite a name of God. Is is that considered a prayer though? Absolutely. Yeah.

It’s remembrance. And I mean, when you think about Islam, one of the doctrines that’s important to to keep in mind is the doctrine of taqwa. It’s called God consciousness and it’s to be in remembrance of God. Is there anything like that in Christian terms? Well, I think so.

I mean, we should be constantly remembering God and doing what we can. As a matter of fact, I have a student that has, tattoos on his wrist of, crosses. Okay. And so he came to the house one day and, my daughter who’s kinda sassy, she’s 7. She’s 7 and she looked at him and she said, why do you have, you have crosses on your wrist?

And, he said, so I can remember Jesus. And she looked him right in the eye and she said, are you afraid you’re gonna forget about him? So in that sense Yes. In that sense, he kinda took a step back and was like, well, no. Then he had to reconsider why he had crosses on his wrist.

Right. Nothing like a 7 year old girl to change the way you’ve done everything in the past. But we do have some concepts of remembering God and doing what we can to remember God. Some, more liturgical practices would be, Luther, for instance, would say on a daily basis, we should recite the I believe it was the apostle’s creed, make the sign of the cross. Mhmm.

Those were just rituals, daily rituals that he had for remembering, remembering God. Of course, communion. Communion. Yeah. Definitely.

Other things that we do, joining together in prayer, maybe even some of the ways in which people, dress. They might take on a certain discipline that looks a certain way that would cause them to remember God daily. I mean, I don’t know. Fasting, there’s tons of things that we do in Christian disciplines throughout history that are about remembrance. And, Muslims have those too.

Cool. Alright. So this week’s podcast is on angry people. Let’s talk about the media. So what’s been going on in the media that’s, kind of?

Well, it’s not hard to find angry people. I’m I’m not really sure, you know, they make medicine for that these days, but there’s a lot of angry people out there. Right. Right. So this week in the media, we were, just kinda watching and seeing what was happening.

And, actually, it was the, it’s Bill Maher show that kinda caught our attention this week. The, Real Clear Politics, video where there was a Bill Maher, interaction between Sam Harris and Ben Affleck that was very interesting. Right. And, it seemed like it was, Sam Harris and Bill Maher on one side and Ben Affleck and Nicholas Kristoff. Nicholas Kristoff.

Who’s a Pulitzer Prize winning writer. I didn’t know that. But, yeah. He’s a he’s He runs an op ed piece for the New York Times. He’s often writing about Islam, Christianity, and, I usually appreciate the things that he brings to the table.

He’s a he’s a a sharp sharp guy and, this interview that goes on is really it it encompasses the whole show because we have the boom goes the dynamite session. Yeah. Definitely. It’s it’s in here. There is a couple opportunities here where there’s, someone drops the bombshell on Muslims and Ben Affleck the whole time is just you can see he’s stirring.

He is angry. Yeah. He almost chewed his finger off. He was so frustrated. Right.

And, I I can understand why. Yeah. And so this is basically the rundown. Harris and Maher seem to be coming, actually just to to bring this whole thing introduce this whole topic. He’s basically saying that liberals have really dropped the ball, on the topic of theocracy.

Right? So, they’re willing to fight for the feminist movement in the US, the the gay rights movement, minorities, so on and so forth. But when it comes to Islam, he’s saying that the Liberals aren’t facing up to the real issues, which are the things that they’re they’re seeing, these atrocities like ISIS, beheadings, killing, Muslims that convert, so on and so forth. So he’s saying that because they’re minorities, liberals are afraid to touch them. Yeah.

It was interesting. He was actually saying in some sense that he really wants them to take more of the approach of criticizing the ideas of Islam, but they’re too afraid because, they are a minority in this country and that they shouldn’t criticize, minority views. And his idea was that we really should be more critical of Islam and and Bill Maher Maher, of course, was on his side that we should be more critical and Ben Affleck kinda snaps a little bit. Not a little. Well, let’s look at some of the things that were said specifically.

So so, the what Maher was coming at it was and listen. I don’t think he meant this, but what he kinda came across as let’s bunch all of Islam together and say that these are the, you know, the they’re all bad. They’re bad ideas. Harris, it was interesting is that he was saying at the basic, the core of Islam was actually violence. So that if you are a true Muslim, if you were a true true Muslim then you would by nature, be violent.

Yeah. And he he didn’t actually say it, specifically, but the way he presented his argument was he talked about concentric circles. So let’s say at the center of the circle, you have the radicals and maybe that’s a smaller circle. Right. And then at the next layer, you have maybe not people that are radical and willing to fight and kill in the name of Islam, but you have people that are wanting to kill those that, maybe leave Islam.

And then at the next circle, you have the, people that just want to live a peaceful concentric circles, what he’s basically arguing for is at the core, at the center of the belief system are the radicals. Right. And then it works its way out. And by the time you get to a peaceful moderate, what I would say is a the majority Muslim world, what he’s saying is, well, they don’t really hold their faith, in such a way that they would act based on their doctrines and beliefs. And that’s the that’s where I take issue.

Right. He’s he’s basically saying that they’re not serious about their faith. Exactly. Actually, here’s here’s the quote. Let me give you let me just give you what you want.

This is Harris speaking. There are 100 of millions of Muslims who are nominal Muslims who don’t take the faith seriously. There you go. Who don’t wanna kill apostates, who are horrified by ISIS, and we need to defend these people, prop them up, and let them reform their faith. So it sounds like what he’s saying is that in order for reformation to happen in their faith is that these Muslims, these nominal Muslims have to have to basically propagate a a less serious faith about Islam.

It’s really ironic. I mean, to say that the reformation of Islam is gonna come through people that don’t take the faith serious seems like an oxymoron to say that we we need a bunch of people that don’t take the faith serious in order to be the ones to reform it. Right. So tell me, I mean, you obviously know way more than than I do, but, is the core of Islam violent? No.

I don’t I don’t think that there is a true core of Islam. I think that you have to look at it as a spectrum. And on one end of the spectrum, you have 15 to 20% of your Muslim world that is more of a radical leaning. And that’s a large number. It’s not to be minimized.

But on the other end of the spectrum, you have another 15 to 20 percent that are the reformers. And I would say that the reformers are not the nominal Muslims. They are the ones that are looking at the text, challenging some of the older ways of viewing the text, challenging some of the commentaries, challenging some of the rulings of the different schools of law and saying that we need a reform. And then in the middle, right, you have that 60 to 60 to 70% that is going to be your moderate Muslim majority. And both of those two groups, the 15 to 20% on either side of that spectrum are fighting for that moderate majority.

To get them off the fence. Yeah. They want them on their side. Right. And so where is where would where where would Sam Harris because early on the interview, he says that he’s very well educated or maybe just says well educated, on Islam.

Well, that was the thing. The, Ben Affleck challenges him and says, so are you, you know, do you know are you the one who can speak for all of Islam, the 1,600,000,000 people in the world who gives the the codified, you know, doctrines of Islam. And Sam Harris’ response is, well, I am well educated on this. And I thought, well, there’s a little bit of an appeal to authority there just to say that he’s well educated on this. He is certainly, a brilliant man.

I’m not questioning his intellect, but to say that he’s well educated on Islam might be a bit of a a bit of a stretch. So And and he didn’t answer the question. No. The question the answer is no. Yeah.

No. He is not. He’s not. I mean, he isn’t. And for for instance, we had a, a 120 Islamic scholars who are who are the, the codified, representatives of the Muslim world.

Right. Those 120 scholars recently published an open letter to ISIS telling them how what they were doing was un Islamic. And so I find it strange that Sam Harris would argue that the radicals have it right when he’s looking at the, Islamic scholars, those who do speak for Islam, meaning the, consensus of the Islamic scholars in saying that they don’t have it right, The radicals have it right. That seems very bizarre to me, but I do think he has an agenda and his agenda is based on his, kind of underlying presupposition that religion in and of itself is is is a bad thing. Right.

You might know Sam Harris from his book, A Letter to a Christian Nation, which basically just rips down Christianity. But his arguments, I’ve always found were weak, straw man type arguments that aren’t robust at all. So I don’t know. I I just kinda felt like when he kinda came in in this Bill Maher talk show that he was going to come from a slant of anti religion, seeing all religion is unviable or inviable or unviable. Is it in or un?

Unviable. Not viable. Not viable. There you go. Not viable.

Not viable. So yeah. Yeah. So where would he get this idea from back to that question? Where where would he get this idea that that Islam is violent by nature and that if you’re a faithful follower of Allah, that you’re gonna be violent as well?

Well, I think it comes back to that idea of how is he interpreting the the Quran. I mean, for instance, he brings up the law of apostasy and he brings up some Pew research, work that’s been done on the law of apostasy. Pew has done an excellent job surveying the Muslim world asking them, do you agree with the law of apostasy? Do you agree with Sharia law? Do you think Sharia law should be in different countries?

And what you’ll see through the interviews is there are some countries that are certainly concerning, I think, depending on the type of Sharia they’re talking about. But there are other countries. 1 in particular that I was looking at was Indonesia, and it’s by no means a majority consensus on law of apostasy or Sharia. And that’s the largest Muslim country in the world. So to generalize that Islam in and of itself is gonna produce a radical person if they take their faith seriously is ridiculous in my opinion.

Would you okay. This is just a shot in the dark, but would you say that, or could you see any connection between, the the general populations of these nations that are more moderate when it comes to apostates or killing apostates in connection with their their their level of connection to the West? Like, Indonesia, there’s certain areas of Indonesia that are very, very touristy. Right? Do you think that those those that tourism mentality would bring into, that culture?

You know, ideas might not necessarily be there in general with other Muslim countries? Yeah. It’s a good question. I I don’t know exactly what would be the influencing factors. I would say that the, the overarching theme that goes throughout the Muslim world is there isn’t one.

There isn’t an overarching narrative that plays throughout the Muslim world and that’s why you have groups like ISIS coming and saying things like, we are the new Islamic State and we are the new, representatives of the Muslim world, Abu Baghdadi, Bakr Baghdadi saying that he is the new caliphate. And what he’s saying is, I’m gonna unify Islam under one sort of, interpretation of Sharia, one sort of interpretation of Islamic, you know, the hadith and all of the different texts that you have in Islam. And that hasn’t happened in a very long time. I mean, the Ottoman Empire is the last empire of the Muslim world that was, abolished in 1924. Mhmm.

So to say that there’s an overarching narrative that goes across the Muslim world is to ignore world history that has been each Islamic empire has fallen usually at the hands of another Islamic empire. Right. So you you you’re not seeing any kind of pattern. They’re they’re just basically swinging from right to the left as far as, apostate and some of these other, what? These other, aspects of Islam?

Different doctrines? The diet doctrines or Yeah. No. There there’s certainly, like I said, I think we’ve talked about it in our last podcast, the different schools of law, and the individual really doesn’t get a chance to say, what Islam should look like. It really comes down to the school of law system of which Islam is in.

And so the it doesn’t necessarily matter. I mean, I couldn’t say that there’s a pattern based on every, Muslim country depending on where they are geographically. All I can say is that the diversity within Islam is is vast and anytime somebody starts to break that diversity down and get very reductionistic about what a Muslim is supposed to look like, I think that they’re headed for, a problem. Right. And it seemed like Egypt, look, just looking at the polls, Egypt was far the extreme.

Yes. Most definitely. Egypt has got, a pretty extreme view and and there’s a history there too. When one of these podcasts will look specifically at the, the role of Egypt in sort of the resurgence of fundamentalism and radicalism looking at the Muslim brotherhood, but there’s a history there. It didn’t just sort of crop up out of out of nowhere.

Just a little bit of a teaser. Ayman al Zawahiri, the current leader of al Qaeda, was imprisoned in Egypt, back in, I guess, that would have been the seventies. So Egypt has a long history of dealing with radicalism, dealing with Sharia, dealing with trying to keep a, Muslim theocracy working. And, when you look at that history, it doesn’t bode well for this sort of successful Islamic state. I mean, just really quick, let’s think of some of the countries in the world that are trying to operate under these theocracies and see how they’re doing.

I mean, we have, what, Pakistan, Egypt. Tunisia actually has completely rejected this idea, and they’re getting becoming more and more secular. You have other Muslim countries, you know, you have Morocco, the Berbers are becoming very antagonistic towards Wow. So Muslim governments are are failing all around the world and the people are becoming incredibly dissatisfied with Islam, especially when you you talk about people that have left Islam. We’re talking about apostasy.

Those who have converted to say Christianity, for instance, when they were interviewed, the number, four reason that they gave for leaving Islam was a dissatisfaction with Islam, particularly related to seeing these Islamic theocracies rise up. Up. Okay. So what is that from? What what what do these theocracies have in common that are causing so many to be dissatisfied?

Well, I think a lot of it is is violence. I mean, there’s something inside of us that just doesn’t feel very good about seeing, a a fellow human being suffer. I do think that there is an innate belief in every human being that says something that that we’re created in the image of God and that we do not wanna see other people suffer. And so when you see these Islamic governments coming in and they become oppressive towards their people, some of them, not all of them, but some of them are oppressive towards their people, people kind of look at that and they’re the they’re disillusioned. They they think this doesn’t really seem like a utopian society.

Interesting. So in some ways, Islamic theocracies are becoming their own worst enemies. Okay. So for this week’s boom goes the goes the dynamite, Sam Harris says in the same interview that we’ve been talking about, says that Islam at the moment is the mother lode of bad ideas. Yeah.

That’s a definite boom goes the dynamite to characterize an entire religion by saying that it is the mother lode of bad ideas. I’m I’m not sure that that’s that’s such a good idea. Okay. So let’s let’s talk about some of these, these things that they would declare as bad ideas, like, the most common, jihad. Let’s talk about jihad.

So kind of explain in terms that, that we would understand that that me being uneducated in Islam would understand what is it what what is this jihad thing, and why are there radicals, and and why are there people killing in the name of jihad? What is exactly going on there? We’re gonna have to do a whole podcast just on jihad because it’s that complex. But if you just wanna hear sort of the the two main streams of thought when it comes to jihad, some Muslims would argue that there are 2 jihads. Okay.

As I would actually, I would say most Muslims would argue that there are 2 streams of jihad. There is the greater jihad and there is the lesser jihad. The greater jihad is the internal struggle. Jihad means to struggle. The greater jihad is the internal struggle that happens within the life of every Muslim.

It’s somewhat comparable to the idea of the struggle within a believer between the spirit and the flesh. Right? To to maintain, a sense of God consciousness, to follow after the teachings of Allah, to follow after the teachings of the prophet Mohammed. And there is that struggle to sort of be in the world but not of the world, if that makes sense. Yep.

The lesser jihad, obviously, the well more more well known jihad is the holy war. The struggle to, fight against those who are fighting against Islam. And that’s the one that really gets debated within the Muslim world as to what that looks like, what qualifies as jihad, and To what extreme they go? To what extreme? Should it be only nuances to the idea of jihad for somebody to just put a blanket on nuances to the idea of jihad for somebody to just put a blanket statement out there and say, hey, jihad is holy war.

It’s about fighting in the cause of Allah and that’s really all there is to it. It’s way too simplistic. So is there precedent for that? For jihad? Uh-huh.

Oh, most certainly. There’s precedent for battle, for fighting, for war. Absolutely. I mean, when you look at the Quran, the the Quran is I’ve never said that the Quran is a book of peace or a book of violence. I don’t know that you can really say that it’s either.

To just simply take a text and say, well, it has a lot of violence in it, therefore, it must be a violent book, I think is is not true. Or to say that, well, this is a very peaceful, has a lot of peaceful things and then it must be a peaceful religion isn’t true either. And so I don’t think the Quran is filled with violence or peace. It has both just like the Bible has both. I mean, if we took the 2 side by side, we just ran a textual sort of analysis and said which book is has more violence?

Which which one do you think Howard would come up as being the more violent text? The bible. Of course. Right? I mean, I don’t know how they come out with bible movies that are rated anything less than r.

There’s some just straight violence that goes on in the bible. Right. Book of Judges. That’s what comes to mind. Book of Judges.

That would be an n c 17. Right. A lot of problems in there. Lot of problems. But we would not say that the religion of Christianity or Judaism is a violent or violent religions because the texts themselves have violence.

Right. Because the bible is mostly narrative. Right. It’s narrative. It’s descriptive.

It’s not, well, there are some commands for for violence, but we have ways of, interpreting our text. Right? We do what we would call hermeneutics. We read the bible in light of its context. And so we can read something and say Deuteronomy chapter 13 where there is a clear statement of apostasy, right, to kill those who would secretly entice you to follow other gods.

Even if it be your son, daughter, or even the spouse that you love, we aren’t doing that today. Yeah. Right? You’re not killing people that are not wanting to follow or trying to secretly entice you to follow other gods, are you? Right.

So how do we get by that? Well, we have hermeneutics. We interpret the text in light of its context and then we take the entire text as a whole in order to determine what are the doctrines. And we also have a historical tradition in which we do that as well. Right.

Muslims have the same thing. That makes sense. And so with jihad, with ISIS, that’s why there will be so many Muslims that are outraged by what they’re doing. I actually saw this, Instagram thing where people, Muslims from other countries were hashtagging everything, not in my name. Mhmm.

And it was basically against, opposing what ISIS was doing and saying, this is not in the name of Islam or in the name of Allah or in the name of Muslims. Yeah. It’s it’s becoming harder and harder to to silence the other side. For instance, after the attack on the American Embassy in Benghazi, Chris Stevens was brutally murdered, by, radical Muslims. Following that, there was a protest, a march in the streets with Muslims holding up signs that said Benghazi is against terrorism.

Chris Stevens was a friend to all, Libyans. Right. This is not the behavior of Islam or our prophet, but most people didn’t see those signs. Right. Because that’s not what sells newspapers or magazines or No.

No. Gets clicks or visits to websites. Right. Exactly. So but how do you get one Muslim having such a radical view of jihad wanting to fight against the whole world to establish an Islamic empire?

And how do you get another Muslim that says, you know, I just wanna live live at peace. Actually, Ben Affleck. Let’s let’s look at how he says it. What’s his quote there, from Ben Affleck? Well, this is our this is our carpe diem award goes Ben Affleck.

Ben Affleck gets the carpe diem. If anything, it’s because of his creativeness and how he presents his case. He was very angry but he was funny at the same time. So Classic Ben Affleck. Right.

I I don’t know how he pulls that off, but it’s a gift. So he says, how about more than a 1000000000 people who aren’t fanatical, who don’t punch women, who just wanna go to school, have some sandwiches, pray 5 times a day, and don’t do any of the things you’re saying of all Muslims. It’s stereotyping. I really like the sandwiches part though. Just Just wanna have some sandwiches.

Who doesn’t want to just have sandwiches? They don’t punch women. Go ahead. They just wanna go to school. They just wanna have some sandwiches.

Pray 5 times a day. Pray 5 times a day. And and it’s a great argument because really what on this podcast we deal a lot with is stereotyping. Because I you know, me personally, and I think this is maybe part of the the reason why we have this podcast is that we don’t think, that anything in this world will change by just drawing up battle lines. I mean, it’ll change.

It just won’t change for the better. Right? And I I was I was reading some quotes, Martin Luther King Junior, doctor Martin Luther King Junior. He in his sermons, he would always talk about how darkness cannot be dispelled by darkness Mhmm. And hate cannot be dispelled by hate.

Only love can do that. And I think that’s really, really powerful in this terms. Like, it’s not it’s not we’re we’re I think as Christians, we’re called far beyond that. Yeah. Absolutely.

Far far beyond the the the natural, the the the worldly response of, you know, like, you know, kill my enemies. Well, can you imagine the Pharisees when Jesus comes and says you’ve heard eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth, and they’re, like, oh, yeah. We have. We practice it. And then I say that you should love your enemies.

Right. Turn the other cheek. And we don’t know how to do that as as Americans and It’s unnatural. And and what’s sad is that it’s really filtered into Christians. So because we’re no longer we’re no longer Christians, we’re Christian Americans or we’re American Christians.

And so we see things totally different. So our our war is against Islam or Muslims or people of different faiths. But we’re we forget the great commission. Right? We forget, being salt and light to the world and and trying to reach out to people and, yeah.

You know, I I think that’s a that’s a a tragedy. But this isn’t the first time that Christians have found themselves in this situation. I mean, think of Saint Francis. You know, he gets, an interesting rep. Everybody thinks of Saint Francis as being somebody that was, just preaching to the animals and, in the woods.

Right? I was thinking I was thinking of a recorded sermon to a bird or preach the gospel always use words when necessary, which Yeah. By the way, that we don’t have any record of Saint Francis actually saying that. We’ve got a lot of good rumors, but Right. There’s no People quoting that.

Yeah. Yeah. But there’s no there’s no, you’ll notice there’s never a citation along with that because we don’t know that he ever actually said it. And but what we do know about Saint Francis is that when the crusades were going on, he was he made a direct appeal to the pope to be able to go and share the gospel with the enemy, the Muslims. Wow.

And So he wasn’t interested in killing them? No. Yeah. He was interested in saving them. Yeah.

Yeah. And so he and his, monk buddies, they they go out into the battlefield knowingly that they’re going to be captured because there’s, gold being offered for the heads of any Christian that’s caught in this battle. They willingly allow themselves to be captured, and then they’re presented to the Sultan of Camille. And Sultan Camille, asked them what they’re doing and Saint Francis shares the gospel with him. And then Saint Francis actually volunteers Francis, preach the gospel, always use words when necessary.

It’s the Saint Francis, preach the gospel, always use words when necessary. It’s preach the gospel, always be willing to walk through fire if necessary might be a good a good quote. Right. And that stands I mean, that’s that’s stands in the face of what we as Christians in America do, I think. You know, in that, I mean, look look at Fox News.

And I’m not saying that Fox News represents Christianity, but a lot of people use that as a weapon, to bash people. Yeah. No. That’s not that’s not the it’s not supposed to be the behavior of of Christians to be bashing and tearing down. It’s to be one if let’s just think of it this way, Howard.

One of the ways I like to think of it is if if all Muslims really were, radical. Let’s say that I’m wrong, Sam Harris and some others are right. All Muslims really at the core are radical. They’re the enemies of Christianity. They’re gonna persecute.

They’re gonna do all these wicked things. They’re gonna set up, tyrannical governments that are gonna rule with an iron fist and smash down Christianity. Let’s say that’s the case. What would be the proper Christian response? To love them.

To love your enemy. Right? Right. I mean, let’s think of Romans 131 where Paul’s dealing with the church in Rome and he’s talking about all authorities are in place by God not to rebel against authority. Who is the authority of Rome at this time in this?

If there was ever a governmental system that was out to smash and crush Christianity, it would have been the governmental system that was in place when Paul wrote Romans. Right. Nero and And he says to submit. Same thing with Peter. Do not be surprised when this fiery trial comes upon you.

I mean, this is the the mantra of the early church is persecution is coming. We’re told it’s gonna come, and we’re not supposed to rise up and rebel and fight against it. We’re supposed to preach the gospel in spite of the fact that we’re being persecuted. Right. And I think Matthew the book of Matthew is a great, illustration that we constantly he’s talking about the kingdom of heaven and how different it is from our kingdoms, you know, here on earth.

And that that hearkens back to judges in which it’s funny because we were talking about judges earlier and it was like, you know, we wanna be a nation. We wanna be We wanna have a king. We wanna be a king. We want to have a king. Like the other nations.

Yeah. Like everyone else. And and look where that that led them. Ultimately, I mean, to the absolute destruction. You know?

And I don’t know. So here we are with, our carpe diem of the week is, Ben Affleck. And and, you know, I don’t I don’t necessarily just, you know, be fair, I don’t really necessarily agree with his, His sandwich approach? No. The humor was good.

But I don’t think that he was coming across as as humorous. He was very, very bitter, sarcastic. It was coming from an angry place, but I I kinda understand why he was so frustrated. Our last segment that we’re gonna be talking about is resource resource of the week, which is Phil Parshall’s book, Muslim Evangelism Contemporary Approaches to Contextualization put out by InterVarsity Press. Trevor, you wanna say anything about that book?

Yeah. It’s it’s a again, anything that Phil Parshall has written is is excellent. I think he’s probably got about 8 or 9 different books, that I can think of offhand. They’re all excellent, but really for me, the sweet spot is Phil Parshall’s writings on contextualization. When Phil Parshall was doing contextualization, back in the day, it was almost as though he was on the fringe.

But now, Phil Parsley Wait. Wait. On the fringe. On the fringe, meaning too much contextualization. Right.

Because he was looking to build bridges. I think his original text that he wrote was building bridges, to Islam, if I’m not mistaken. So, like, Hudson Taylor kind of extreme, like, beards and, you know, like, garb and Oh, yeah. Beards, garb, Going to the mosque. Nature of God Kind of thing?

Kind of thing. Well, not not worshiping within the mosque, but certainly, speaking with people in the mosque and and presenting themselves as religious men by their their dress and by their look and then dealing with where they’re at and what they believe about God. I mean, he just did an excellent job on, taking people where they were and, being able to translate the gospel into terms and, actions that they would understand. So today, we wouldn’t see those as extreme? No.

Not at all. Today, we would actually see him as being the one who’s keeping people from becoming extreme. But it’s kinda funny. You know? Historically, it was almost like he was an extremist in the beginning, and now he’s the man of reason.

And so maybe it’s because he has white hair now and people are just not so concerned about his approach. I think his approach is fantastic, and I’ve been so encouraged by just about everything he’s written. And, I think he’s an excellent, excellent contributions to, reaching the Muslim world. Right. So back to the fringe.

I’m really interested in this. So, like, what would you say is on the fringe now? What what what what That’s a whole another podcast. Not naming names, but like what kind of I’ve got a list. What kind of things do people do that make them on the fringe of Muslim contextualization now?

Like, be being Muslims, like, I’ve I’ve heard that. Alright. Let’s, just a tease. Just really quick. Just a quick.

I mean, we can talk about this next week. I don’t know. Sure. In saying that the Quran specifically references the disciples of Jesus saying that they decide that they were submitted to God and following Jesus and they were good Muslims. And so based on the fact that we, as Christians, are also submitted to God and following Jesus, we can say that we are Muslim according to the Quran Quran too because we are submitted to God and we are following Jesus.

But Wow. That would be on the fringe in my opinion, just because I’m not so sure that when you call yourself Muslim that the Muslim understands what you’re trying to get across. Right. And so there would need to be some sort of qualifying statement. Like, I am a Muslim because I’m submitted to God and I’m following Jesus.

I’m not sure that that would necessarily communicate what I would want them to know. I’m I would want I would wanna ask them, what do you mean, by calling me Christian before I would want to use that term. If they said, well, you’re Christian, so this means a, b, and c. And if I don’t agree with a, b, and c, I’m gonna say, I’m sorry. That’s not who I am.

You know, I’m I’m I’m a follower of Jesus or I would want to redefine what it means to be Christian. But I wouldn’t just take on a term that they would like that would get me in that later they might feel deceived with. Right. That’s what I was gonna say the word deceived, deceitful. Yeah.

Okay. Great. Well, I hope you guys enjoyed this week’s podcast. Stick with us till next week and, we’ll be talking about more interesting things. Yeah.

Apparently, we gotta talk about contextualization and being on the fringe. Right. We gotta talk about a lot of new things. And I think we’re gonna do our best to get, doctor partial to get him in on an interview. He’s, retired these days working in, Central Florida, but I think he’d still be up for doing a maybe a phone interview or something like that.

So we’ll give him a call and see if we can get some some updates on where he’s at and kinda his perspective on what’s going on in the Muslim world. So look for that as well. Alright? Like the show or hate the show, we wanna hear your comments. Post them below.

We’ll talk to you next week.