4.24.2017

Home-going of Charleen Thompson



Charleen Thompson, 89, of Freeport went home to be with her Lord surrounded by loving family on April 20th, 2017.  She was born in Hastings December 17, 1927 to Clarence & Doris (Hayward) Cappon.

Charleen graduated from Hastings High School in 1945. She started her first job in the office at Consumers Power Company while still a senior in high school and continued there until 1949. Charleen married Kenneth Thompson on May 25, 1947.

An accomplished bookkeeper, Charleen managed the finances for Ken’s family farm, while also working as an office manager, accountant & secretary for Chenoweth Machine Company in Hastings from 1955-1971.  The company was sold to Ketchum Machine Company and relocated to Freeport, where she worked from 1971-82.

Charleen lived a life of service to her church and her community. She served on committees in her local congregation, Hope Church of the Brethren, and on the Michigan District Board. She was a co-leader for the annual Citizenship Seminar to Wash. D.C. for several years. As a dedicated member of the Farm Bureau, she went to Washington D.C. to promote agriculture policy and served on the state Policy Development Committee. She chaired the Women’s Committee of Ionia County Farm Bureau, and served on the County Board of Directors and the State F.B. Women's Committee (1979-85). She eventually became District IV Director of the Mich. F.B. Board (86-88).  

Together, Charleen and Ken were involved with Habitat for Humanity on a local and national level. In addition to volunteering, Charleen enjoyed antiquing, knitting, quilting, caning, baking, reading novels, camping and traveling.  

Charleen and Ken traveled with their motor home for many years and made friends from all over the country. The couple spent the winter months in Florida or Texas for 25 years. The couple’s home in Freeport--and their home on wheels--were always open for gatherings for family and friends.

Charleen was preceded in death by her parents, grandson Sean Wilcox, sister-in law Connie Cappon, special family friend Pam Burson, in laws Floyd & Mabel Thompson, sister-in law Evelyn (Thompson) Walton in addition to other family members and friends.  She is survived by her loving husband of nearly 70 years, brother Ron Cappon, children Dianne Thompson (Ann Fiorini), Donna (Lee) Wilcox, Lynette (Wayne) Guyer, Brian (Carole Stowell) Thompson, Melanie Basler, 5 grandchildren, one great grandchild and numerous cousins, nieces and nephews & friends.  

Comment: Charleen was my 1st cousin, once removed. Photo above: Ken and Charlene and two of my 2nd cousins, and one 2nd cousin once removed. Charleen was like an Aunt to me.

4.23.2017

On the overuse of #RIP in the media


Comments: To wish eternal rest and peace to someone who has died ("Rest in peace" (Latin: Requiescat in pace) presumes that one is a Christian. Only Christians have peace with God!

4.22.2017

13 Most Ridiculous Predictions Made on Earth Day, 1970



13 Most Ridiculous Predictions Made on Earth Day, 1970
Saturday is Earth Day — an annual event first launched on April 22, 1970. The inaugural festivities (organized in part by then hippie and now convicted murderer Ira Einhorn) predicted death, destruction and disease unless we did exactly as progressives commanded.

Sound familiar? Behold the coming apocalypse, as predicted on and around Earth Day, 1970:
  1. “Civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind.” — Harvard biologist George Wald
  2. “We are in an environmental crisis which threatens the survival of this nation, and of the world as a suitable place of human habitation.” — Washington University biologist Barry Commoner
  3. “Man must stop pollution and conserve his resources, not merely to enhance existence but to save the race from intolerable deterioration and possible extinction.” — New York Times editorial
  4. “Population will inevitably and completely outstrip whatever small increases in food supplies we make. The death rate will increase until at least 100-200 million people per year will be starving to death during the next ten years.” — Stanford University biologist Paul Ehrlich
  5. “Most of the people who are going to die in the greatest cataclysm in the history of man have already been born… [By 1975] some experts feel that food shortages will have escalated the present level of world hunger and starvation into famines of unbelievable proportions. Other experts, more optimistic, think the ultimate food-population collision will not occur until the decade of the 1980s.” — Paul Ehrlich
  6. “It is already too late to avoid mass starvation,” — Denis Hayes, Chief organizer for Earth Day
  7. “Demographers agree almost unanimously on the following grim timetable: by 1975 widespread famines will begin in India; these will spread by 1990 to include all of India, Pakistan, China and the Near East, Africa. By the year 2000, or conceivably sooner, South and Central America will exist under famine conditions…. By the year 2000, thirty years from now, the entire world, with the exception of Western Europe, North America, and Australia, will be in famine.” — North Texas State University professor Peter Gunter
  8. “In a decade, urban dwellers will have to wear gas masks to survive air pollution… by 1985 air pollution will have reduced the amount of sunlight reaching earth by one half.” — Life magazine
  9. “At the present rate of nitrogen buildup, it’s only a matter of time before light will be filtered out of the atmosphere and none of our land will be usable.” — Ecologist Kenneth Watt
  10. “Air pollution…is certainly going to take hundreds of thousands of lives in the next few years alone.” — Paul Ehrlich
  11. “By the year 2000, if present trends continue, we will be using up crude oil at such a rate… that there won’t be any more crude oil. You’ll drive up to the pump and say, ‘Fill ‘er up, buddy,’ and he’ll say, ‘I am very sorry, there isn’t any.’” — Ecologist Kenneth Watt
  12. “[One] theory assumes that the earth’s cloud cover will continue to thicken as more dust, fumes, and water vapor are belched into the atmosphere by industrial smokestacks and jet planes. Screened from the sun’s heat, the planet will cool, the water vapor will fall and freeze, and a new Ice Age will be born.” — Newsweek magazine
  13. “The world has been chilling sharply for about twenty years. If present trends continue, the world will be about four degrees colder for the global mean temperature in 1990, but eleven degrees colder in the year 2000. This is about twice what it would take to put us into an ice age.” — Kenneth Watt
Comment: Junior in College ... I remember it well. Image source









The real green agenda:




4.15.2017

Flaco (Spanish for "Skinny") the cat


We've been cat-sitting for 6 months. Such a lovely pet. Goes back to my son & daughter-in-law on Monday.




4.12.2017

Investing in the Airlines: Still a "death trap for investors"?




So far I have eschewed investing in the airlines. I've followed the sage advice, since changed, of Warren Buffett who famously said (2002):
"It's been a death trap for investors ... If a capitalist had been present at Kitty Hawk back in the early 1900s, he should have shot Orville Wright. He would have saved his progeny money. But seriously, the airline business has been extraordinary. It has eaten up capital over the past century like almost no other business because people seem to keep coming back to it and putting fresh money in. You've got huge fixed costs, you've got strong labor unions and you've got commodity pricing. That is not a great recipe for success. I have an 800 (free call) number now that I call if I get the urge to buy an airline stock. I call at two in the morning and I say: 'My name is Warren and I'm an aeroholic.' And then they talk me down.”
He since has changed his mind ... at least a bit (2017):
These aren't last century's airline companies, and that's why legendary investor Warren Buffett is spending money on them. "It's true that the airlines had a bad 20th century. They're like the Chicago Cubs. And they got that bad century out of the way, I hope," Buffett said Monday on CNBC's "Squawk Box." "The hope is they will keep orders in reasonable relationship to potential demand." Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway revealed late last year in an SEC filing it had taken a stake in American Airlines, United Continental Holdings and Delta Air Lines. CNBC also reported that Berkshire had taken another stake in Southwest Airlines. Ironically, Buffett implied he had not taken a commercial flight in several years. "We'll save that (conversation) for after the show," he said. The Oracle of Omaha also revealed why his holding firm previously hesitated to take significant positions in the industry. "I think there have been almost 100 airline bankruptcies. I mean, that is a lot," he said. "It's been a disaster for capital."
So I am thinking of dipping my toe into the airlines ... just 10 shares of each. Thoughts? Advice?

Top image: Biplane crash, East Boston Airport, 1928-05-31


Updated: Passengers may hate airlines, but investors love them (even United)

Muslims, Drinking and Halal







Quran 5:90

Quote:

O you who have believed, indeed, intoxicants, gambling, [sacrificing on] stone alters [to other than Allah ], and divining arrows are but defilement from the work of Satan, so avoid it that you may be successful.
Comment: Halal regards Muslim rules for eating and drinking.  For the Christian, "for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit." (Romans 14:17) Yet many Muslims do drink in violation of Halal. Image source top


Update:

4.09.2017

$20 trillion in debt: Fighting wars, big tax cuts and economic stimulus packages have all added to the debt burden



Here’s how the U.S. got to $20 trillion in debt

Excerpt:

The U.S. is approaching $20 trillion in national debt — the nation is a cool $19.85 trillion in the red as of Friday — and when it crosses that mark, get ready for some finger pointing over who’s to blame. If history shows anything, it’s that both parties share responsibility for boosting the debt. Fighting wars, big tax cuts and economic stimulus packages have all added to the burden over the years.
Comment: Article is worthwhile. Virtually no one seems to care or be concerned about this.

4.08.2017

Before we involve ourselves in Syria

So You Want To Go To War In Syria To Depose Assad. Can You Answer These 14 Questions First?

Excerpt:


  1. What national security interest, rather than pure humanitarian interest, is served by the use of American military power to depose Assad’s regime?
  2. How will deposing Assad make America safer?
  3. What does final political victory in Syria look like (be specific), and how long will it take for that political victory to be achieved? Do you consider victory to be destabilization of Assad, the removal of Assad, the creation of a stable government that can protect itself and its people without additional assistance from the United States, etc.?
  4. What military resources (e.g., ground troops), diplomatic resources, and financial resources will be required to achieve this political victory?
  5. How long will it take to achieve political victory?
  6. What costs, in terms of lives (both military and civilian), dollars, and forgone options elsewhere as a result of resource deployment in Syria, will be required to achieve political victory?
  7. What other countries will join the United States in deposing Assad, in terms of military, monetary, or diplomatic resources?
  8. Should explicit congressional authorization for the use of military force in Syria be required, or should the president take action without congressional approval?
  9. What is the risk of wider conflict with Russia, given that nation’s presence and stake in Syria, if the United States chooses to invade and depose Assad, a key Russian ally in the Middle East?
  10. If U.S. intervention in Syria does spark a larger war with Russia, what does political victory in that scenario look like, and what costs will it entail?
  11. Given that Assad has already demonstrated a willingness to use chemical weapons, how should the United States respond if the Assad regime deploys chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons against the United States?
  12. Assuming the Assad regime is successfully removed from power, what type of government structure will be used to replace Assad, who will select that government, and how will that government establish and maintain stability going forward?
  13. Given that a change in political power in the United States radically altered the American position in Iraq in 2009, how will you mitigate or address the risk of a similar political dynamic upending your preferred strategy in Syria, either in 2018, 2020, or beyond?
  14. What lessons did you learn from America’s failure to achieve and maintain political victory following the removal of governments in Iraq and Libya, and how will you apply those lessons to a potential war in Syria?
Until these questions are answered with specificity, and until the U.S. government is open and honest with the American people about the potential risks and likely costs of a war to remove Assad from power in Syria, it makes little sense to discuss the idea further.
Comments:


3.31.2017

Jeff Foxworthy: The Fence Test

Which side of the fence? If you ever wondered which side of the fence you sit on, this is a great test!
  • If a Republican doesn't like guns, he doesn't buy one. If a Democrat doesn't like guns, he wants all guns outlawed.
  • If a Republican is a vegetarian, he doesn't eat meat. If a Democrat is a vegetarian, he wants all meat products banned for everyone.
  • If a Republican is homosexual, he quietly leads his life. If a Democrat is homosexual, he demands legislated respect.
  • If a Republican is down-and-out, he thinks about how to better his situation. If a Democrat is down-and-out he wonders who is going to take care of him.
  • If a Republican doesn't like a talk show host, he switches channels. A Democrat demands that those they don't like be shut down.
  • If a Republican is a non-believer, he doesn't go to church. A Democrat non-believer wants any mention of God and religion silenced.
  • If a Republican decides he needs health care, he goes about shopping for it, or may choose a job that provides it. If a Democrat decides he needs health care, he demands that the rest of us pay for his.
  • If a Republican is unhappy with an election, he grumbles and goes to work the next day. If a Democrat is unhappy with an election, he burns down a Starbucks, throws rocks at cops and takes two-weeks off for therapy.
  • If a Republican reads this, he'll forward it so his friends can have a good laugh A Democrat will delete it because he's "offended."
Comment: Sent to me by a cousin. Image source

3.30.2017

Time to "Nuke" the Filibuster



The filibuster isn't what it used to be. It's time to bring the old way back

Excerpt:

The Senate's coming confirmation of Neil Gorsuch will improve the Supreme Court, and Democrats' incontinent opposition to him will inadvertently improve the Senate -- if Republicans are provoked to thoroughly reform the filibuster. If eight Democrats will not join the 52 Republicans in providing 60 votes to end debate and bring Gorsuch's nomination to a vote, Republicans should go beyond extending to Supreme Court nominees the prohibition of filibusters concerning other judicial nominees. Senate rules should be changed to rectify a mistake made 47 years ago.

There was no limit on Senate debate until adoption of the cloture rule empowering two-thirds of senators present and voting to limit debate. This occurred on March 8, 1917 -- 29 days before Congress declared war on Germany -- after a filibuster prevented a vote on a momentous matter, the Armed Ship Bill, which would have authorized President Woodrow Wilson to arm American merchant ships. (He armed them anyway.)

In 1975, imposing cloture was made easier by requiring a vote of three-fifths of the entire Senate, a change the importance of which derived from what Majority Leader Mike Mansfield, D-Mont., did in 1970: He created the "two-track" system whereby the Senate, by unanimous consent or the consent of the minority leader, can set aside a filibustered bill and move on to other matters. Hitherto, filibustering senators had to hold the floor, testing their stamina and inconveniencing everyone else to encourage the majority to compromise. In the 52 years after 1917, there were only 58 cloture motions filed; in the 46 years since 1970 there have been 1,700.

Wisdom about the filibuster comes today from the other side of the Capitol, where House rules make filibustering impossible. Rep. Tom McClintock, a conservative California Republican, writing in Hillsdale College's publication Imprimis, praises the Senate tradition that "a significant minority should be able to extend debate" in order to deepen deliberation. Post-1970 filibusters, however, are used to prevent debate. As McClintock says, "the mere threat of a filibuster suffices to kill a bill as the Senate shrugs and goes on to other business."

McClintock urges the Senate to make a "motion to proceed" to consideration of a bill undebatable and hence immune to filibustering: "Great debates should be had on great matters -- but not great debates on whether to debate." And he says the Senate should abandon the two-track system. This would prevent the Senate from conducting other business during a filibuster but would require filibusterers to hold the floor. As he says, it was this mutual inconvenience that, between 1917 and 1970, made filibusters rare and productive of pressure for compromise to resolve the impasse.
Comment: Image is Jimmy Stewart in Mr Smith goes to Washington.  See Senate Republicans prepared to go nuclear if Democrats try to block Neil Gorsuch nomination On "go nuclear" / On Filibuster / the word means "to pirate"

Update: Schumer’s Folly - Democrats are heading toward an epic miscalculation in filibustering Neil Gorsuch.

3.27.2017

‘Ā’ishah bint Abī Bakr - Muhammad's 9 year old wife (one of 13)



‘Ā’ishah bint Abī Bakr

Excerpt:

The majority of traditional hadith sources state that Aisha was married to Muhammad at the age of six or seven, but she stayed in her parents' home until the age of nine, or ten according to Ibn Hisham, when the marriage was consummated with Muhammad, then 53, in Medina.
Comment: In the Western world we call that abuse! Read about it Quran 65:4 and Quran 68:4 . See Muhammad's molestation of Aisha

Muhammad's Convenient Revelations


Comment: Check the verses out:

  • Quran 4:3
    And if you fear that you will not deal justly with the orphan girls, then marry those that please you of [other] women, two or three or four. But if you fear that you will not be just, then [marry only] one or those your right hand possesses. That is more suitable that you may not incline [to injustice].
  • Quran 33:50
    Not lawful to you, [O Muhammad], are [any additional] women after [this], nor [is it] for you to exchange them for [other] wives, even if their beauty were to please you, except what your right hand possesses. And ever is Allah , over all things, an Observer.
  • Quran 33:51 Muhammad's wives (13)
    You, [O Muhammad], may put aside whom you will of them or take to yourself whom you will. And any that you desire of those [wives] from whom you had [temporarily] separated - there is no blame upon you [in returning her]. That is more suitable that they should be content and not grieve and that they should be satisfied with what you have given them - all of them. And Allah knows what is in your hearts. And ever is Allah Knowing and Forbearing.
  • Quran 33:37 Zaynab bint Jahsh
    And [remember, O Muhammad], when you said to the one on whom Allah bestowed favor and you bestowed favor, "Keep your wife and fear Allah ," while you concealed within yourself that which Allah is to disclose. And you feared the people, while Allah has more right that you fear Him. So when Zayd had no longer any need for her, We married her to you in order that there not be upon the believers any discomfort concerning the wives of their adopted sons when they no longer have need of them. And ever is the command of Allah accomplished.
  • Quran 66:1 / Maria the Copt
    O Prophet, why do you prohibit [yourself from] what Allah has made lawful for you, seeking the approval of your wives? And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.

3.24.2017

The 5th 3rd Preferred Dividend




Fifth Third Bancorp Announces Cash Dividends

Excerpt:

Fifth Third also declared a cash dividend on its 6.625% Fixed-to-Floating Rate Non-Cumulative Perpetual Preferred Stock, Series I (Nasdaq: FITBI), at the rate of $414.06 per preferred share, which equates to approximately $0.41406 for each depositary share. Each depositary share represents a 1/1000th ownership interest in a share of Series I Preferred Stock. The Series I dividend is payable on March 31, 2017 to shareholders of record as of March 29, 2017.
Comment: Buy 100 shares today ... get $ 41.40 next Friday. 5.71% yield. Preferred stock tracts like a bond so as interest rates rise, the stock will decline. Image snaps from ...

3.23.2017

Colorado United Bank Brass Coasters




My Ebay find this week. 4 nice brass United Bank coasters.

The United Bank of Colorado was the largest bank in Colorado when Norwest acquired it in 1991. Kathee was a United Bank employee.  The Cash Register Building, now the Wells Fargo Tower, was the HQ.  This building was the site of the famous Father's Day Massacre.

The United Bank logo was still on our Greenwood Village IT center when we worked there.

3.08.2017

The Social Security Spouse Benefit - 4 Helpful Articles

  • 4 Key Rules for Claiming Social Security's Spousal Benefits: "Spousal benefits can't be claimed unless the "target" spouse -- the one whose earnings will be the basis for the benefit -- has already filed to claim his or her Social Security retirement benefit"
  • A guide for couples on understanding how the spousal benefit works.: "beware the "deeming" provision. Say John applies for his benefit first. Then Mary applies for her own benefit before her full retirement age, intending to delay taking the higher spousal benefit. Not possible, says the Social Security Administration. It automatically "deems" her as taking the highest benefit she's eligible for -- in this case, the spousal benefit. To get around the deeming provision, the lower earner should apply for her retirement benefit before the higher earner applies for his. The Social Security Administration will not automatically switch her to the spousal benefit once she is eligible; the wife will have to file an application for the spousal benefit, Blair says. Having the lower earner file early could make sense for couples who want to bring in some money while the higher earner delays. But couples who regret having the wife take her own benefit early could boost her benefit by waiting to collect her spousal portion."
  • How the The Social Security Spouse Benefit Works: "If you were born on or before January 1, 1954, after you reach FRA, you can choose to receive only the spousal benefit by filing a restricted application. By doing this you delay receiving your retirement benefits based on your earning's record until a later date. For example, at age 70 you could switch from receiving a spousal benefit to receiving your own potentially higher benefit amount."
  • What Is the Maximum Social Security Spousal Benefit?: "Thanks to a rule known as "deemed filing," if you were born on or after Jan. 2, 1954, then once you apply for one type of benefit, you're deemed to have applied for them all. If you were born before that date and you have reached your full retirement age, then you may choose to collect your spousal benefit, let your own retirement benefit continue to grow, and then claim your enhanced benefit later."
Image source: Kathee reaches FRA (Full Retirement Age) in April. So we plan on her filing for the Spousal Benefit then, to commence in May

3.06.2017

It's high time we deal with North Korea

Challenging Islam as a doctrine is very different from demonizing Muslim people



The Dilemma Facing Ex-Muslims

Excerpt:

“Most Muslims are moderate, but whoever wrote the Quran, that’s not a moderate person,” he said. Rizvi devotes an entire chapter of his book to exposing what he sees as the flagrantly illiberal elements in Quranic scripture. Referring to the chapter on women, Surah An-Nisa, he writes: “It establishes a hierarchy of authority, where men are deemed to be ‘in charge’ of women. It also asks wives to be obedient to their husbands, and allows their husbands—in the most controversial part of the verse—to beat them if they fear disobedience.”

Rizvi condemns this, but he reserves an almost equal contempt for reformist Muslims who, as he sees it, try to rationalize away such verses. He puts the scholar of religion Reza Aslan in this category, taking him to task for his suggestion that interpretations of scripture have “nothing to do with the text…and everything to do with the cultural, nationalistic, ethnic, political prejudices and preconceived notions that the individual brings to the text.” Rizvi is incredulous at the categorical “nothing” in this claim, and echoes the Islamic studies scholar Michael Cook’s observation that religious texts provide “modern adherents with a set of options that do not determine their choices but do constrain them.” He is skeptical, too, of reformist efforts to reinterpret scripture so as to bring Islam into line with liberal values. “You can’t sanitize scripture,” he insisted. “I think fundamentalists have a more honest approach. … They’re more consistent.”


3.02.2017

Snapchat mania and the problem of IPOs


IPO's are hype, hype, HYPE, H Y P E

Contrast with boring General Mills! They have a nearly equal Market Capitalization.

See IPOs are the shiny objects of investing Source of image below


SNAP killer

Islam vs Christianity: Claim: Jesus was a prophet of Islam


While Islam refers to Christians as "people of the book" along with Jews and Zoroastrians (as opposed to polytheists and animists), it denies that Christianity is the final and permanent revelation of God and speaks quite negatively of Christians as "the infidels" (kaffur). This is because Muhammad, "the seal of the prophets," is the last and greatest of the prophets of Allah (Qur'an 48:27-28). He alone corrects the errors of the past, including the aberrations of Christianity. Islam abrogates Christianity (Qur'an 48:27-28); it is Christianity's replacement. The argument for abrogation  is rooted in five major claims made by Islam against Christianity. This is a significant apologetic challenge that Christians today need to face intelligently, given the global reach of Islam and its growing influence in the West.

Claim 5: Jesus was a prophet of lslam. Islam teaches that Jesus' "gospel" (injil) was no different from the teaching of Old Testament prophets: one must worship Allah and obey his law. All the prophets or messengers have declared essentially the same thing, but Muhammad is the final and greatest prophet. However, this simple message of Jesus, the prophet of Allah, was lost and replaced by the Christian gospel, which is a perversion.

Our counterclaim has been made in the preceding arguments. The New Testament witness is far better established historically than the revisionism of the Qur'an. We know of no earlier documents concerning the nature of Jesus' person and message than the Gospels and the rest of the New Testament. In none of these books do we find a prophet of Allah who exhorts weak humans to know and live up to the divine law. Instead, the figure that illuminates every book of the New Testament is the Lord and Savior of a deeply flawed humanity (Mark 7:20-23), who never called people to work harder at obeying the law in hopes of salvation but rather called people to himself for the forgiveness of their sins and eternal life (John 3:16-18). Jesus' message was crucially about himself self as God's Son, Savior and Lord (John 3:16-18; 14:1-6; Matthew 11:27). Only Jesus perfectly obeyed the will of God through his virtuous life and obedient death on the cross. This matchless life was crowned by his resurrection, as Paul highlights at the commencement of Romans:

Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God-the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures regarding his Son, who as to his earthly life was a descendant of David, and who through the Spirit of holiness was appointed the Son of God in power by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 1:1-4)


Douglas Groothuis. Christian Apologetics: A Comprehensive Case for Biblical Faith (pp 609-610)

Islam vs Christianity: Claim: God is not triune



While Islam refers to Christians as "people of the book" along with Jews and Zoroastrians (as opposed to polytheists and animists), it denies that Christianity is the final and permanent revelation of God and speaks quite negatively of Christians as "the infidels" (kaffur). This is because Muhammad, "the seal of the prophets," is the last and greatest of the prophets of Allah (Qur'an 48:27-28). He alone corrects the errors of the past, including the aberrations of Christianity. Islam abrogates Christianity (Qur'an 48:27-28); it is Christianity's replacement. The argument for abrogation  is rooted in five major claims made by Islam against Christianity. This is a significant apologetic challenge that Christians today need to face intelligently, given the global reach of Islam and its growing influence in the West.

Claim 4: God is not triune. Islam denies that God is triune, affirming that Allah is absolutely one, without son or partner. Any other doctrine is abominated as polytheism.
Certainly they disbelieve who say: Surely Allah is the third (person) of the three; and there is no god but the one God, and if they desist not from what they say, a painful chastisement shall befall those among them who disbelieve. (Qur'an 5:73)
The Qur'an misunderstands the nature of the Trinity as presented in Scripture. While the Bible speaks of one God (Deuteronomy 6:4) and three persons who are divine-Father, Son and Holy Spirit-the Qur'an's interpretation of the Bible leaves out the Holy Spirit and deems Mary one of the divine persons.
And when Allah will say: 0 Isa son of Marium! did you say to men, Take me and my mother for two gods besides Allah he will say: Glory be to Thee, it did not befit me that I should say what I had no right to (say); if I had said it, Thou wouldst indeed have known it; Thou knowest what is in my mind, and I do not know what is in Thy mind, surely Thou art the great Knower of the unseen things. (Qur'an 5:116)
This threesome has never been affirmed as the divine Trinity by any branch of Christianity before, during or after Muhammad. The Qur'an is simply wrong on this and thus should not be taken seriously on this issue. The Muslim, however, may press the purely logical point that God cannot be three and one (although the Qur'an does not do so). To this we respond in the same spirit and with the same logic as when the incarnation is rejected as illogical. The orthodox formulation of the doctrine is not that of a contradiction, and there are various ways of understanding God's oneness and God's triunity without contradiction. The backbone of any approach is to argue that God is one in one respect (the divine essence of substance) and three in another respect (the personhood of each member).

Douglas Groothuis. Christian Apologetics: A Comprehensive Case for Biblical Faith (pp 608-609)

Islam vs Christianity: Claim: Jesus is not divine



While Islam refers to Christians as "people of the book" along with Jews and Zoroastrians (as opposed to polytheists and animists), it denies that Christianity is the final and permanent revelation of God and speaks quite negatively of Christians as "the infidels" (kaffur). This is because Muhammad, "the seal of the prophets," is the last and greatest of the prophets of Allah (Qur'an 48:27-28). He alone corrects the errors of the past, including the aberrations of Christianity. Islam abrogates Christianity (Qur'an 48:27-28); it is Christianity's replacement. The argument for abrogation  is rooted in five major claims made by Islam against Christianity. This is a significant apologetic challenge that Christians today need to face intelligently, given the global reach of Islam and its growing influence in the West.

Claim 3: Jesus is not divine. Muslims are repulsed by the confession of Jesus as divine. The Qur'an affirms concerning Allah, "Say not three" (4:171) and "Allah has no son" (72:3). Thus they reject a trinitarian God by insisting that Allah has no partner.
Surely Allah does not forgive that anything should be associated with Him, and He forgives what is besides this to whom He pleases; and whoever associates anything with Allah, he indeed strays off into a remote error. (Qur'an 4:116)
According to Islam, Jesus is Allah's prophet, born of a virgin, sinless and the Messiah (in a scaled down sense from the biblical view); he will come again, but he is emphatically not divine. As the Qur'an declares:
O followers of the Book! do not exceed the limits in your religion, and do not speak (lies) against Allah, but (speak) the truth; the Messiah, Isa son of Marium is only an apostle of Allah and His Word which He communicated to Marium and a spirit from Him; believe therefore in Allah and His apostles, and say not, Three. Desist, it is better for you; Allah is only one God; far be It from His glory that He should have a son, whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the earth is His, and Allah is sufficient for a Protector. (4:171). Certainly they disbelieve who say: Surely Allah, He is the Messiah, son of Marium; and the Messiah said: 0 Children of Israel! serve Allah, my Lord and your Lord. Surely whoever associates (others) with Allah, then Allah has forbidden to him the garden, and his abode is the fire; and there shall be no helpers for the unjust. (5:72)
In response, one must appeal to the most reliable documents: the New Testament. … Jesus claimed deity, and his apostles affirmed this repeatedly, as If so, the claims of the Qur'an can be dispensed with on purely historical grounds.

Muslims sometimes employ philosophical arguments against the deity of Jesus (although the Qur'an does not) by claiming that Jesus cannot be divine given that he prayed to his Father, said that the Father was greater than he was and so on. These objections have received sustained treatment in recent decades by philosophers,  … the concept of the incarnation is not contradictory and has not been affirmed as such in Christian creeds or confessions. Therefore, this charge is without bite.

Douglas Groothuis. Christian Apologetics: A Comprehensive Case for Biblical Faith (pp 607-608)

Islam vs Christianity: Claim: Jesus was not crucified



While Islam refers to Christians as "people of the book" along with Jews and Zoroastrians (as opposed to polytheists and animists), it denies that Christianity is the final and permanent revelation of God and speaks quite negatively of Christians as "the infidels" (kaffur). This is because Muhammad, "the seal of the prophets," is the last and greatest of the prophets of Allah (Qur'an 48:27-28). He alone corrects the errors of the past, including the aberrations of Christianity. Islam abrogates Christianity (Qur'an 48:27-28); it is Christianity's replacement. The argument for abrogation is rooted in five major claims made by Islam against Christianity. This is a significant apologetic challenge that Christians today need to face intelligently, given the global reach of Islam and its growing influence in the West.

Claim 2: Jesus was not crucified. The Qur'an states that Jesus (Issa or Isa) was not crucified.

And their saying: Surely we have killed the Messiah, Isa son of Marium, the apostle of Allah; and they did not kill him nor did they crucify him, but it appeared to them so (like Isa) and most surely those who differ therein are only in a doubt about it; they have no knowledge respecting it, but only follow a conjecture, and they killed him not for sure. Nay! Allah took him up to Himself; and Allah is Mighty, Wise. And there is not one of the followers of the Book but most certainly believes in this before his death, and on the day of resurrection he (Isa) shall be a witness against them. (4:157-59)
While Chawkat Moucarry points out the difficulties in understanding this text in the original Arabic, this text has been taken by Muslims worldwide to mean that Jesus was not crucified but was delivered somehow how by Allah. To the Islamic mind, it is unthinkable that a true prophet should be subject to such humiliation. Thus, if Jesus was a prophet, he must not have been crucified. However, another verse from the Qur'an claims that Jesus would be killed (Qur'an 3:54-55). Most Muslims interpret pret this to mean that Jesus will die after he returns from heaven some time in the future. But when he was on earth the first time, he was taken directly back to Allah.

A quick glance at the Gospels and the rest of the New Testament indicates that the death of Jesus on the cross is the ineradicable center of the Christian message. ... the Hebrew Scriptures prophesy Jesus' death (Isaiah 53). Jesus himself spoke of his impending death with his disciples (Matthew 12:39-40; John 10:11), his death on the cross is recorded in all four Gospels, and it is either assumed or expressed in every New Testament book. These are the most ancient and reliable documents available about Jesus of Nazareth. In Paul's summary of the gospel, Jesus' death is foundational: "For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures" (1 Corinthians 15:3-4).

Moreover, contemporary historians agree that Jesus was executed through crucifixion. Even the archliberal New Testament scholar Rudolf Bultmann believed this. For over six centuries before Muhammad, Christians (and Jews) believed that Jesus had died on a cross. While secular historians may reject the biblical meaning of Jesus' death as atoning for human sin, they do not question the factuality of his death by crucifixion. Therefore, any claim to the contrary bears the burden of proof to refute the universal claim of the Christian church and the testimony of the vast majority of ancient historians.

Douglas Groothuis. Christian Apologetics: A Comprehensive Case for Biblical Faith (pp 606-607)

Islam vs Christianity: Claim: The Original Holy Book has been Distorted



While Islam refers to Christians as "people of the book" along with Jews and Zoroastrians (as opposed to polytheists and animists), it denies that Christianity is the final and permanent revelation of God and speaks quite negatively of Christians as "the infidels" (kaffur). This is because Muhammad, "the seal of the prophets," is the last and greatest of the prophets of Allah (Qur'an 48:27-28). He alone corrects the errors of the past, including the aberrations of Christianity. Islam abrogates Christianity (Qur'an 48:27-28); it is Christianity's replacement. The argument for abrogation is rooted in five major claims made by Islam against Christianity. This is a significant apologetic challenge that Christians today need to face intelligently, given the global reach of Islam and its growing influence in the West.

Claim # 1 The original holy book has been distorted. Since there are distinct differences between Christianity and Islam concerning the nature of God, humans and salvation (as well as devotional practices), Muslims need to account for these discrepancies while affirming that Moses, David and Jesus were bona fide prophets of Allah. Therefore, Muslims charge that the original revelation to the Jewish and Christian prophets (who were all prophets of Allah) has been altered and distorted. This charge takes two forms. Either it is claimed that (1) the writings of the Bible even in their original form were distorted, or (2) the original Christian documents supporting porting Islam were tampered with after the fact. The second claim provides the better argument for the Muslim since the Qur'an endorses the divine authority of the Old Testament and the Gospels (Qur'an 4:48, 136; 5:47-51, 68-71; 10:94).

But … the New Testament has been transmitted with integrity. Moreover, the Old Testament texts from Muhammad's day are substantially similar to what we read in our Bibles today. The claim that Jews or Christians had radically changed the original documents is logically unsupportable. First, the magnitude of the change would have been enormous. All references from the Bible that contradict Islam would had to have been inserted into the documents. That would have included the Trinity, the incarnation, the crucifixion of Jesus, salvation through faith alone and more. Second, given the rapid dissemination of the New Testament in the ancient world, it would have been impossible for any group to seize and alter all the texts at hand. Third, we know of no early Christian texts of the New Testament that lack these distinctively Christian doctrines.

Islam faces another obstacle in establishing its accusation that the Bible has been radically altered such that it no longer teaches the truths of Islam. The Qur'an, supposedly received from Allah by Muhammad from 610 to 632, tells the reader to consult the Christian Scriptures to corroborate the veracity of Muhammad's message and his status as a prophet.
But if you are in doubt as to what We have revealed to you, ask those who read the Book before you; certainly the truth has come to you from your Lord, therefore you should not be of the disputers. (Qur'an 10:94; see also 5:47-51, 72; 19:29-30; 21:7; 29:46-47)
Gleason Archer summarizes the Qur'an's teaching by noting first that "the author of the Quran firmly believed in the full inspiration of the Old Testament and the Gospels of the New Testament as containing the authoritative Word of God, and secondly that the Hebrew-Christian Bible should be appealed to in confirmation that what is revealed in the Qur'an is the very truth of God." Yet manuscripts of the Bible from this time period are in substantial agreement with what we read in our Bibles today. Archer observes:
It is completely out of the question to discredit the text of Holy Scripture as no longer conforming to what was current in Muhammad's time, from A.D. 610-632. Complete manuscripts of the New Testament copied out in the fourth century (Codex Vaticanus and Codex Sinaiticus) and the fifth century tury (Codex Alexandrinus), antedate the revelation of the Qur'an by three centuries.
Therefore, when the Qur'an says to consult the Christian Scriptures for the verification of the truth of Islam, it contradicts itself. The extant Christian Scriptures of Muhammad's day teach that God is a Trinity, that Christ is the incarnation of God, and that salvation is through faith in Jesus Christ-all doctrines that Islam rejects.

Furthermore, Jesus, whom the Qur'an esteems as a prophet, endorsed the Old Testament as God's revelation (Matthew 5:17-20; John 10:35). He deemed his own teaching to be in accordance with that previous disclosure from God. Yet, as we will see, Islam denies crucial claims about Jesus.

Douglas Groothuis. Christian Apologetics: A Comprehensive Case for Biblical Faith (pp 604-606)

3.01.2017

Basic Muslim Doctrine and Practice - Divine decrees and predestination



Six key doctrines constitute the worldview of Islam, which are found in sura 2:177 of the Quran:
  1. Divine decrees and predestination. Allah is absolutely sovereign and views humans as his slaves, not his friends or his servants (Qur'an 17:16; 59:23; 74:31; 35:8). While Christianity and Judaism stress the providence of God, Islam does so to the extent that petitionary prayer is excluded. Prayer involves reciting parts of the Qur'an and invoking Allah's power, but does not include personal requests to affect his will.
On these six doctrines are placed the five pillars that make up the practices of Islam.


  1. The first is the confession of Allah as God and Muhammad as his prophet (shahada). On the basis of this belief one is considered a Muslim-that is, one who submits to Allah. This act does not change the being of the person, however. One has simply confessed a belief, which implies a commitment to live accordingly. 
  2. Second, Muslims must engage in five daily prayers, facing Mecca (salat). These prayers are highly ritualized and physical, and require ablutions and proper postures. There is little sense of spontaneous prayer and no personal petition. 
  3. Third, Muslims are required to give alms (zakat), which amount to 2.5 percent of their profits to an Islamic charity. 
  4. Fourth, a yearly monthlong long fast during daylight is required (Ramadan). 
  5. Fifth, if at all possible every Muslim is to make one pilgrimage to Mecca, the birthplace of Islam (hajj).


Douglas Groothuis. Christian Apologetics: A Comprehensive Case for Biblical Faith (Kindle Locations 6516-6523). Kindle Edition.

Basic Muslim Doctrine and Practice - The judgment of God



Six key doctrines constitute the worldview of Islam, which are found in sura 2:177 of the Quran:
  1. The judgment of God. Nearly every chapter of the Qur'an speaks vehemently of the last judgment of Allah, and speaks far more often of hell than of paradise. If a person's good deeds outbalance the bad deeds (the score is kept by angels), he or she may hope for paradise as a reward. However, since Allah is regarded as utterly sovereign and free, an individual cannot know whether he might receive mercy or severity in the afterlife (Qur'an 36:54; 53:38). However, it is certain that a man cannot be certain of his eternal condition-unless he dies in a genuine jihad. Then his destiny is certain: endless life in the company of multiple, heavenly virgins.
Douglas Groothuis. Christian Apologetics: A Comprehensive Case for Biblical Faith (Kindle Locations 6512-6515). Kindle Edition.

Basic Muslim Doctrine and Practice - The holy books



Six key doctrines constitute the worldview of Islam, which are found in sura 2:177 of the Quran:
  1. The holy books. Muslims believe that some of the prophets received divinely inspired books. Thus they accept the Torah (Taurat) as from Moses, the Psalms (Zabur) from David, the Gospel (Injil) from Jesus and the Qur'an from Muhammad as divinely revealed holy books. The Qur'an, however, is deemed the final and ultimate authority, having been directly revealed to Muhammad and flawlessly preserved since its inception. Where the Bible contradicts the Qur'an-as it often does-the Qur'an is deemed to be correct and the Bible in error.
Douglas Groothuis. Christian Apologetics: A Comprehensive Case for Biblical Faith (Kindle Locations 6509-6512). Kindle Edition.

Basic Muslim Doctrine and Practice - Prophets


Six key doctrines constitute the worldview of Islam, which are found in sura 2:177 of the Quran:
  1. Prophets. Allah inspires prophets to declare his message of submission to humanity. The first prophet was Adam, the first human. There are many others, including Moses, David, John the Baptist and Jesus (Qur'an 3:84), who is also known as the Messiah, sinless and a worker of wonders. About twenty-five prophets are named in the Qur'an, but Muslim tradition affirms as many as 124,000 prophets. However, the last prophet, "the seal of the prophets" (Qur'an 33:40), is Muhammad, who received God's final and perfect revelation, the Qur'an. This was received by Muhammad over about a twenty-two-year period (A.D. 610-632)  and was collected and edited after his death. Another large group of writings, known as the Hadith, record events from the life of Muhammad. While these are not as authoritative as the Qur'an, they are consulted for doctrine and practice by Muslims and are thus very important for Islam. 
Douglas Groothuis, Christian Apologetics, pp 601-ff

Basic Muslim Doctrine and Practice - Angels and Demons


Six key doctrines constitute the worldview of Islam, which are found in sura 2:177 of the Quran:
  1. Angels and demons. Islam affirms the reality of finite, immaterial beings. These are angels who are under Allah's control. Two angels list all the deeds of humans, both good and bad, and these deeds are produced on the Day of Judgment (Qur'an 50:17-18; 53:5-10; 81:20). In addition  to angels, there are spirits known as jinn, both good and evil. The Qur'an itself was supposedly revealed through the angel Gabriel to Muhammad. Muslims also believe in the existence of a chief evil spirit known as Satan.
Douglas Groothuis, Christian Apologetics, pp 601-ff

Basic Muslim Doctrine and Practice - God



Six key doctrines constitute the worldview of Islam, which are found in sura 2:177 of the Quran:
  1. God. Islam insists that there is but one God, whose name is Allah. Allah, a personal God, is the creator, lawgiver and judge of the universe. In Arabic, Allah is grammatically incapable of the plural construction: Allah is the one and only God. The utter transcendence and oneness of God is repeatedly and militantly affirmed by Islam. Islam thus insists that God has no son or cohort. Certainly they disbelieve who say: Surely Allah, He is the Messiah, son of Marium; and the Messiah said:  Children of Israel! serve Allah, my Lord and your Lord. Surely whoever associates (others) with Allah, then Allah has forbidden to him the garden, and his abode is the fire; and there shall be no helpers for the unjust. Certainly they disbelieve who say: Surely Allah is the third (person) of the three; and there is no god but the one God, and if they desist not from what they say, a painful chastisement shall befall those among them who disbelieve. (surah 5:72-73)
Douglas Groothuis, Christian Apologetics, pp 601-ff

2.27.2017

The Immigration Continuum - Time to End "the Shrill"




Comments:
  • The yellow - green - yellow continuum is my creation. Click on it to enlarge.
  • The Libertarian view is here: "Libertarians believe that people should be able to travel freely as long as they are peaceful. We welcome immigrants who come seeking a better life. The vast majority of immigrants are very peaceful and highly productive. Indeed, the United States is a country of immigrants, of all backgrounds and walks of life…some families have just been here for more generations than others. Newcomers bring great vitality to our society. A truly free market requires the free movement of people, not just products and ideas. Whether they are from India or Mexico, whether they have advanced degrees or very little education, immigrants have one great thing in common: they bravely left their familiar surroundings in search of a better life. Many are fleeing extreme poverty and violence and are searching for a free and safe place to try to build their lives. We respect and admire their courage and be proud that they see the United States as a place of freedom, stability, and prosperity. Of course, if someone has a record of violence, credible plans for violence, or acts violently, then Libertarians support blocking their entry, deporting, and/or prosecuting and imprisoning them, depending on the offense."
  • The Phase down mass migration view is here: "Phase Immigration Down so we can Phase Americans Back In! Immigration is an optional program that is supposed to respond to the needs and desires of the American people. Our government can and should determine admission levels based on what’s best for America, but that's not happening.
  • The Constitutional view is [duh] from the Constitution
  • Observations:
    • Even the Libertarian view is not an absolutist view: "f someone has a record of violence, credible plans for violence, or acts violently, then Libertarians support blocking their entry, deporting, and/or prosecuting and imprisoning them, depending on the offense". It's not anti-Constitutional! It's not the John Lennon - "Imagine there's no countries It isn't hard to do Nothing to kill or die for" - view!
    • I tend towards the Libertarian view on many things - I can say that I personally do not hold this view (but I am close to it) and I've never met a true Libertarian who has expressed this view
    • On the other extreme, I personally have never met anyone who has exposed this view
    • On the extremes: The "yellows" are over-represented in size in my continuum chart for the sole purpose of having enough space for the text!
    • Back to the Constitutional view - note the text: "The Congress shall have the power ..."
    • We have a crisis today because the Congress has punted! We have laws on the books that have not been followed, exacerbating the immigration crisis
    • On the "shrill": Trump's position is not substantially different than Bill Clinton's
  • Notable attempts at reform: