Back to nuclear deterrence?

Charles Krauthammer observes that we have utterly failed to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon, as that country announces new centrifuge breakthroughs that are necessary for the production of an atomic bomb. Therefore, he says, we must go back to the cold war policy of deterrence. The prime target for an Iranian nuclear weapon, judging from what Iran’s president keeps saying, would be Israel. Krauthammer urges that the United States make this pledge, based upon what President Kennedy said to the Soviets if they attacked any of our allies:

“It shall be the policy of this nation to regard any nuclear attack upon Israel by Iran, or originating in Iran, as an attack by Iran on the United States, requiring a full retaliatory response upon Iran.”

Are we up for that?

Muslims converting to Christianity

Muslims have the reputation of being extraordinarily resistant to evangelism, but, according to the data in this article, the Holy Spirit is changing that, with millions of Muslims coming to faith, despite the death penalty for doing so. From Muslims Leaving Islam in Droves, quoting a Muslim scholar:

In every hour, 667 Muslims convert to Christianity. Everyday, 16,000 Muslims convert to Christianity. Every year, 6 million Muslims convert to Christianity. These numbers are very large indeed.

Much of this is happening in Africa, as Christianity is booming at the expense of Islam. But the article cites outbreaks of faith in other Muslim enclaves, as well:

Allam, author of numerous books and deputy editor of Milan’s Corriere della Sera [the man the pope recently baptized], joins a list of converts from Islam which includes many other public intellectuals and millions of average people from all over the world. This is more than the normal flow between two large religious communities. Islam can point to little in the way of recent conversions. Its claim to be the world’s fastest-growing religion stems mostly from the high birth rate in Islamic countries, whose infant mortality rates have been cut by the introduction of Western medicine. Christian growth is based on adult conversion. As leading Christian evangelist Wolfgang Simpson writes, “More Muslims have come to Christ in the last two decades than in all of history.”

Although al-Qataani points to Africa, there is another phenomenon based on repulsion from Islamist dictatorship, corruption, and terrorist violence. In Iran as many as 1 million people have surreptitiously converted to Evangelical Christianity in the last five years. Pastor Hormoz Shariat claims to have converted 50,000 of them through his U.S.-based Farsi-language satellite ministry. He contrasts the upswing to the efforts of evangelical missionaries in Iran between 1830 and 1979, whose 149 years of work built a Christian community of only 3,000. One Iranian religious scholar believes youth are abandoning Islam because it is identified with the corrupt Iranian government. Now the Iranian Majlis (parliament) is debating the death penalty for conversion. . . .

In southern Russia the same pattern is emerging. According to Roman Silantyev, executive secretary of the Inter-religious Council in Russia, freed from atheist control, two million Muslims converted to Christianity. Repulsed by bloody terrorist attacks, those living in areas such as Beslan have converted to Christianity in the greatest numbers of all. As many as 100,000 have converted to Christianity in post-Soviet Kyrgyzstan.

After decades of Islamist war, evangelicals report thousands of sub-rosa converts in rural areas of Kashmir. Says one churchgoer: “I am interested in this religion. I hate violence. I hate fundamentalists in Islam. I come here to seek peace.” An Indian newspaper headline reads: “Urban Muslim Youth Out to Junk Faith.”

Following decades of terrorist rule, Palestinians are being quietly converted, holding in-home services to avoid detection. Says one evangelist: “I’ve been working among these people for thirty years, and I promise you I’ve never seen anything like this.”

Tower of Babel?

A Saudi prince is planning on building a skyscraper that will be a mile high, twice the height of the tallest buildings today. I wonder how big the Tower of Babel was going to be.

Why Islam denies Christ’s crucifixion

Appended to that Jonah article we blogged about yesterday was another tidbit from Ronald F. Marshall explaining why Islam denies that Jesus was crucified:

According to the Koran, Jesus was not crucified on the cross. Some have it that he never was nailed to the cross but a look-alike was nailed there in his place, perhaps Thomas or Judas; others that he was nailed to the cross but was taken down and later resuscitated in the tomb.

On this view, the sign of Jonah (Matt. 12:39; Luke 11:29) says that Jesus will not die because Jonah did not die in the belly of the whale, and that alone is the true but forgotten point of comparison between Jesus and Jonah. This argument is made by Ahmed Deedat in Was Jesus Crucified?, published by the Library of Islam.

Islam denies the Atonement for two reasons. First, “the Christian concept of salvation presupposes the existence of an a-priori state of sinfulness, which is justified in Christianity by the doctrine of ‘original sin,’ but is not justified in Islam, which does not subscribe to this doctrine,” as one highly esteemed Koranic scholar, Muhammad Asad, put it.
Second, Islam denies vicarious suffering. The Koran teaches that we have to bear the burden for our sins all by ourselves. So the teaching that Jesus bore our sins in his body on the cross (1 Peter 2:24) is a corruption of the original revelation, the original coming in the Koran, where we are told that God gave to Jesus the way of good works. By following them we have peace with God.

The Koran describes salvation as repenting of sin and obeying God just as Jonah did. Jesus’ life reinforces this way. This is all that is left for Jesus to do if original sin and vicarious suffering are denied, as they are in Islam (and much of liberal Christianity). The sign of Jonah is the way of good works.

Sounds like the beliefs of some people who think they are Christians! No wonder so many of them think Islam and Christianity are basically the same. Rather than OPPOSITES.

Words from that Muslim the Pope baptized

More details about that Muslim journalist whom the pope baptized, and sure enough, as we predicted on our post, he is in danger and the pope is taking heat from Muslims. See Muslim baptized by pope says life in danger:

A Muslim author and critic of Islamic fundamentalism who was baptized a Catholic by Pope Benedict said on Sunday Islam is “physiologically violent” and he is now in great danger because of his conversion. “I realize what I am going up against but I will confront my fate with my head high, with my back straight and the interior strength of one who is certain about his faith,” said Magdi Allam.

In a surprise move on Saturday night, the pope baptized the 55-year-old, Egyptian-born Allam at an Easter eve service in St Peter’s Basilica that was broadcast around the world.
The conversion of Allam to Christianity — he took the name “Christian” for his baptism — was kept secret until the Vatican disclosed it in a statement less than an hour before it began.

Writing in Sunday’s edition of the leading Corriere della Sera, the newspaper of which he is a deputy director, Allam said: “… the root of evil is innate in an Islam that is physiologically violent and historically conflictual.” Allam, who is a strong supporter of Israel and who an Israeli newspaper once called a “Muslim Zionist,” has lived under police protection following threats against him, particularly after he criticized Iran’s position on Israel.

He said before converting he had continually asked himself why someone who had struggled for what he called “moderate Islam” was then “condemned to death in the name of Islam and on the basis of a Koranic legitimization.” His conversion, which he called “the happiest day of my life,” came just two days after al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden accused the pope of being part of a “new crusade” against Islam. . . .

Allam’s highly public baptism by the pope shocked Italy’s Muslim community, with some leaders openly questioning why the Vatican chose to shine such a big spotlight it.

Hear more from CHRISTIAN Allam at First Things.

Pope baptizes Muslim journalist

Pope baptizes prominent Italian Muslim:

Italy’s most prominent Muslim commentator, a journalist with iconoclastic views such as support for Israel, converted to Roman Catholicism Saturday when the pope baptized him at an Easter service.

As a choir sang, Pope Benedict XVI poured holy water over Magdi Allam’s head and said a brief prayer in Latin.

“We no longer stand alongside or in opposition to one another,” Benedict said in a homily reflecting on the meaning of baptism. “Thus faith is a force for peace and reconciliation in the world: distances between people are overcome, in the Lord we have become close.”

Vatican television zoomed in on Allam, who sat in the front row of the basilica along with six other candidates for baptism. Allam later received his first Communion.

An Egyptian-born, non-practicing Muslim who is married to a Catholic, Allam often writes on Muslim and Arab affairs and has infuriated some Muslims with his criticism of extremism and support for the Jewish state.

OK, so he’s a “non-practicing Muslim” and a critic of the jihadists, who will doubtless target him for apostasy and the pope for performing the baptism. Still, this reminds us of the ultimate answer to the jihadists: not war but evangelism.