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Algeria, Where Mennonites and Muslims Met — Elkhart, IN: M. Hostetler, Her book documents the challenges of her work and that of the many others who served in Algeria over the twenty-three years that MCC and MBM operated there. It includes significant correspondence from mission workers, offering insight into the joys and frustrations of their work. Kateregga, Badru D. A Muslim and a Christian in Dialogue. Updated ed. The other author provides a brief response, which might elicit a clarification from the first. This is a helpful introduction to the sort of issues that arise when Christians and Muslims converse with each other about their faith.

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Krabill, James R. Shenk, and Linford Stutzman, eds. Fifty-six mission workers, mission and service agency leaders, and Anabaptist academics contribute to this collection of essays and reports. The papers and responses were originally presented at a consultation on Islam convened at Eastern Mennonite University in Virginia. Topics include the history of Mennonite engagement with Muslims, dialogue and apologetics, and literature and media in the Middle East.

Sixteen reports from mission workers in Africa and Asia fill out this substantial collection. Nickel, Gordon. Mumbai: Bruton Gate, Peaceable Witness among Muslims. Nickel provides those called to witness to Jesus in Muslim contexts with a kind of extended handbook.

Underscoring the importance of a church-centered incarnational witness, an ethic of love, servanthood and nonviolent persuasion, and an understanding of the gospel as peace, he skilfully guides his readers through the maze of Christian-Muslim relations. Ratliff, Walter R. Ratliff tells the story of how Russian Mennonites in the s prepared for the Second Coming by embarking on a trek that took them to the kingdom of Khiva in Central Asia.

The encounter of Mennonites with the Muslims of Uzbekistan became a story of friendship and cooperation which continued well into the Soviet era. Shenk, David W. Twelve Paths to Real Relationship. Darrol, and S. Ali, eds. Muslim-Christian Dialogue: Promise and Problems. Paul, MN: Paragon House, Especially helpful are the historical accounts of the beginnings of Muslim-Christian dialogue and the initial Muslim misgivings regarding such exchanges.

Discussions of difficult subjects, like Jesus, Muhammad, and the role of women remind us that significant issues will not be resolved quickly, if ever. Shah-Kazemi, Reza. Cambridge [England]: Islamic Texts Society, Troll, Christian W.

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Faith Meets Faith. Maryknoll, New York: Orbis, A Jesuit and long-time scholar of Islam, Troll deftly identifies the sociological, ethical, and political dimensions of dialogue part 1 ; moves on to distinctions in the beliefs of Muslims and Christians part 2 ; and ends by examining theological assessments part 3. Volf, Miroslav. Allah: A Christian Response.

Do Christians and Muslims worship the same God? Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, Both Christians and Muslims offer thoughtful reflections on the document and its possible impact on future relations between the two great religious traditions. Ahmed, Shahab. What Is Islam?

The Importance of Being Islamic. Apart from hoping to dispel the confusion of outsiders regarding Islam, the author also seeks to promote greater recognition among Muslims themselves that Islamic variations typically emerge from thoughtful interpretation of the authorities, rather than from stubborn heresy.

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Arjana, Sophia Rose. Muslims in the Western Imagination. Every culture has a store of monsters symbolizing the anxieties of the age. Arguing that belief in monsters is often rooted in racial, ethnic, and sexual apprehensions, the author carefully analyzes theological texts, dramatic works, art, and film to trace the emergence and evolution of the Muslim monster in the collective imagination of the West.

He finds it wanting. Translations Ali, Abdullah Yusuf. Introductions and Companions Mattson, Ingrid. Watt, W. Most non-Christian critics would counter that Christians, especially fundamentalists, rarely do that themselves, and that context is by definition irrelevant if we are to take the Bible literally as literalists would insist. The site does make extreme leaps in interpretations, and sometimes pushes common understanding a bit too far for the quick 'haha' [ please explain ] , but it still provides insight and a way to begin an argument with a fundamentalist, if you have the sanity for that argument.

Some of Wells' comments are simply him making snarky jokes; in general the SAB should be viewed as a tool for strengthening and entertaining skeptics rather than for deconverting hardcore fundies. While a great source of discussion points, this Bible's sassy attitude makes it for critics, not Christians. Wells keeps track of several sites criticizing the SAB [2] [3] but it is unknown how much he takes them into consideration and updates his website to respond to their claims.

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Light iron-age reading The Bible. Gabbin' with God. G'Tach Gospels Pesher. Early Christians — notably Jesus, Paul, the disciples, and other followers — were all convinced that the End Times were near and that Jesus himself would return to Earth within the generation of some of the people who were currently alive. The Bible claims that Jesus made the following comment in Matthew :. Jesus also advised against going to court against someone who steals something and also told people not to store up stocks or reserves for the future. Clearly, he also thought the end was very near.

For the same reason, Paul advised followers not to marry. In the passage below, he obviously believes that some of the people he is talking to will still be alive for the Second Coming:. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.


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The obvious fact is that the Second Coming was not in fact forthcoming or even close to being near. The 2,year delay is a strong piece of evidence that Christianity is a failed religion. The following quotation from Stephen L. Remember that Jesus was a Jew who had no intention to deviate from the Hebrew scriptures:.

A sense of optimism overcame their grief about his execution and renewed some hope that he was a true messiah. If they had known then that there was to be no return in the near or long-term future, they likely would have abandoned any further activity. Such a belief would have been an exceptional departure from the Jewish faith. The crucifixion of Jesus is believed to have occurred around 30 AD. The best estimates date the gospels as follows:. The time lag between the events and the documentation was long enough for exaggeration and myths to contaminate the historical account.

It would be similar if a person today wrote a biography of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Rather, they were educated storytellers who used material from both mostly oral and some written sources while at the same time adding in some embellishments and myths at their own discretion. There was no fact checking available i. The band of Jewish followers of Jesus, led by his brother James, no longer existed. Another is the story of the Roman centurion who was allegedly commended by Jesus for having more faith than anybody else in Israel Matthew The stories told in the gospels became more impressive as each new gospel was written.

In Mark, there is no account of a virgin birth or of a resurrected Jesus interacting with the disciples other than the ending verses that were added much later. With Luke, the virgin birth is added. With John, the raising of Lazarus is first presented, and Jesus is for the first time equated with God the Father. Another example is that the temptation of Jesus by the devil grows in significance and details from Mark to Luke to Matthew. These examples reflect a classic illustration of myth-making, such that events are embellished over time to make for a more persuasive story.

Matthew ,50 :. Luke :. John :. In Matthew, Jesus is expressing displeasure with God for allowing the crucifixion, but in the later gospels, Luke and John, there are no longer any hints of dissatisfaction. It suggests that the writers of the gospels made revisions to improve the image of Jesus and to make it appear that he viewed his crucifixion as an expected and necessary part of his earthy mission.

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If the scriptures were inspired by God and then accurately copied by scribes, we would expect to see a fairly rigorous consistency among the books. The best way to test this hypothesis is to examine the four gospels, as they all claim to describe the same events. What we see are numerous contradictions, including:. In any event, it is clear that God was not overseeing the Bible-building effort to ensure a perfect product.


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As such, the Bible cannot be viewed as a reliable portrayal of history. The stories of the raising of Lazarus from the dead and the woman caught in adultery are extremely important in the effort to define who Jesus was. One tells of his immense power, and the other tells of his divine wisdom. Both would have been told and retold throughout the region, spread virally, and held up as convincing evidence for having faith in Jesus.

However, curiously, neither of these events is documented in the first three gospels Mark, Matthew, and Luke. Not until the gospel of John, written at least 70 years after the death of Jesus, is the raising of Lazarus documented in scripture. And the story of the woman caught in adultery is not found in the oldest manuscripts of the gospel of John, and only appears in manuscripts beginning in the fifth century.

This casts considerable doubt on the historical truth of these events. Jesus is adored and worshipped as a King as he enters Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. He then proceeds to work miracles, heal the sick, and demonstrate his supreme wisdom, making him even more of a figure for adulation. But five days later, without explanation, he is abruptly hated so much by his own people that, given a chance to have him released, they chose to free a common criminal instead.

There is something seriously wrong with this story.

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This is because by the time the scriptures were written, the focus of Christian evangelism was on the Gentiles throughout the Roman Empire, while the Jews, freshly defeated in their war with Rome, were viewed as detestable villains. The story of Judas, the traitor, is fraught with inconsistency. First and foremost, it should be obvious that what he allegedly did actually hastened the salvation of mankind, as defined by Christianity. Second, Jesus was not in hiding during his time in Jerusalem.

He was out and about, performing miracles, and routinely in plain view of the Roman authorities, making it unnecessary for anyone to rat him out for arrest. Third, if we are to believe Christian doctrine, Jesus knew that he was to be executed and that this was the principal point of his mission, so why would he call out Judas as a traitor both at the Last Supper and in the garden at the time of his arrest?

To make some sense of this story, one has to assume that it was changed to fit a new narrative that placed blame on the Jews for the crucifixion. Painting Judas as a traitor was a part of that effort. What probably happened was that Judas was sent by Jesus to entice the Roman soldiers to the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus then expected that God would miraculously intervene to defeat the Romans and begin the reign of Jesus as the king of the restored Kingdom on Israel. There is no record of this in Roman history. According to Luke, the residents were required to travel to their cities of birth to be counted.

This absurd requirement was never applied to any census that the Romans conducted throughout their empire. Obviously, the Romans would want to know how many people were living currently in each area rather than how many were born in a certain city. The reason for this artifice from the writer of this gospel is evident. Jesus was known by many to have been born and raised in Nazareth, but the scriptures said that the savior was to be born in Bethlehem.

Therefore, some device was needed to convince followers that Jesus was not born in Nazareth as everyone had assumed, but rather that he had the appropriate credentials of the savior. As a side note, this deception by the author of Luke provides some evidence that Jesus was a true historical figure, given that a mythical person could just as easily have been invented who was born and raised in Bethlehem. There are no Roman records suggesting that such a custom existed. Further, the implication of such a practice would be absurd.

It would mean that the Jews could plan for someone to perform a heinous crime just before the Passover and then have that perpetrator released.

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So, in effect, the crowd was actually demanding the release of Jesus, finding that his arrest was unwarranted. When the author of Mark was confronted with the folklore that the Jews were asking for the release of Barabbas, he simply made Barabbas into a separate individual and then concocted the myth of the prisoner release tradition. At this council, four gospels were selected from a total of approximately 60 that were in use at the time. These were not independent efforts but had many elements borrowed and shared among them. The fourth gospel, John, is very different from the other three and presents a somewhat contradictory theology.

The other 56 or so gospels that were discarded do not agree for the most part with the four that were selected. It is likely that the truth of what happened lies buried amid the numerous tales told by all of these gospels, with various true and fictional elements scattered throughout.

But what should be troubling to a questioning believer is that the council undoubtedly preferentially selected the gospels that were favorable to the Romans i. It is certain that this process resulted in a whitewashed portrayal of history. Most Christians believe that Jesus was a unique figure in his time, a one-of-kind preacher who mesmerized followers with his wisdom and magical acts. This is not true. There were many messiahs at this time including Hezekiah the bandit, Simon of Peraea, Athronges the shepherd boy, and Judas the Galilean.

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In addition, there were many other preachers and prophets who were gathering followers and preaching a messianic message about the coming of the Kingdom of God. Some advocated a violent overthrow of the Roman occupiers as a prelude to the coming. Others stressed a less violent approach including repentance, prayers, and beseeching of God for deliverance. Added to this list is the most popular preacher of all, John the Baptist. Jesus was just one of many itinerant preachers of his day, and there was nothing particularly unique about him, because all were preaching the same ideas, and almost all of them ended up being crucified for the crime of sedition against the Roman Empire.

Unbeknownst to most Christians, the early Christian church had two distinct divisions or denominations. One was organized by the Jewish followers of Jesus, his disciples, and close associates. The other was headed by Paul and his mostly non-Jewish followers. This group did not view Jesus as being divine, which would be unquestionably contrary to the Jewish faith, but rather a prophet setting the stage for the coming of the new kingdom of Israel to be established on Earth.

As mentioned earlier, they viewed the empty tomb as evidence that God has resurrected Jesus into Heaven. After all, Jesus had just been defeated by the very forces he intended to overcome. It is also likely that Jesus himself did not expect to be put to death. His complaint to God for being abandoned as recorded in the gospel of Matthew is probably one of the few Biblical statements by Jesus that can be assumed true because of its disparity with the main gospel message.

They were based in Jerusalem and had some success in recruiting new followers for several decades after the crucifixion. In contrast, Paul viewed Jesus as being both a human and the divine savior of all mankind.