Only Love, Caring, Justice, Joy, and Truth Will Endure

“Those aspects of life actually are all that endure in the largest perspective when they are made with eternity in mind…. Those acts include love, caring, justice, giving, forgiving, fairness, kindness, selflessness, joy, and truth.  That’s why every religion values those qualities.”

Response:   I am a fan of yours, and always enjoy reading your column.  But I did want to respond to your recent column entitled:  “Leaving a Mark”.

You mentioned that “those aspects of life actually are all that endure in the largest perspective when they are made with eternity in mind…. Those acts include love, caring, justice, giving, forgiving, fairness, kindness, selflessness, joy, and truth.”

I am in full agreement that having eternity in mind enriches our lives and those around us as we carry out our lives.  However from a Christian perspective, the largest perspective would really be eternity – heaven and hell, and how we have assisted people move toward the former (or not).  So we could treat people very well, but if we don’t help them see Jesus and learn about eternal life, we will not have helped them in the long run.  And eternity is a very long time.  As they burn in hell, they may remember how kindly we have treated them, but wonder why we did not introduce them to the sovereign, living God of the Bible and His Son Jesus Christ, who alone saves men and women unto eternity.

By the way, Maurice Rawlings is a cardiologist who discovered that about half of his patients that he revived from death came back screaming for him to save them, as they were in hell.  Very interesting, as it directly contradicts liberal seminaries, which often teach that hell does not exist.

“Those acts include love, caring, justice, giving, forgiving, fairness, kindness, selflessness, joy, and truth.  That’s why every religion values those qualities.”

Response: Is this really true?  The Bible is clear that there were other religions in place at the time of the Old and New Testaments, and they were condemned by prophets in the Old Testament and Christ and His apostles in the New Testament: 

  • Moses directly confronted the spiritual leaders of Egypt, who espoused another religion.  He could have said: “I know we have the same values, so I wish you well.”  No, he rejected their religion and their gods, and each of the plagues brought upon the Egyptians demonstrated that their gods were impotent against the God of the children of Israel. 
  • There are many other examples of the prophets of the sovereign, living God of the universe rejecting pagan gods in the Old Testament and their practices such as sacrificing their children by passing them through the fire.  (Similar to abortion today – over 50 million unborn babies to the gods of convenience, lifestyle, and reputation.)  The Judeo-Christian respect for human life as created in the image of God and of a higher order than animals is unique.
  • The New Testament is also full of examples of Christ and His disciples rejecting other religions.  Christ clearly taught that the (Talmudic) Judaism taught be the Pharisees and Sadducees was insufficient to go to heaven.  He told Nicodemus, a Pharisee, that he must be born again to go to heaven. 
  • When Paul spoke to the Greek philosophers in Athens, he noted that they had statues to many gods, then expounded on their “unknown god”, making the case that their unknown god was really the God of the Bible.  These were professional, hardened, skeptical philosophers, and yet he found a way to reach them.  But he did not reach them on the basis of shared values.
  • Finally, Jesus stated:  “I am the way, the truth, and the light; no one goes to the Father but through Me.” John 14:6  This claim to exclusivity is either true or false; there is no middle ground.  He was either who he said he was – the Son of the sovereign, living God, or a false teacher and charlatan. 

“Each of us finds ways to weave and wind through the time we spend here.  Many turn to religion in an effort to connect with the signal.  I’ve chosen Christianity.  I’ve also had friends of the Jewish faith.  Others over the years have become followers of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam, all seeking the higher frequency.”

Response: You imply that different religions are merely different ways to reach the same goal (“the higher frequency”), sort of like a bicycle, motorcycle, car, or truck are all equally valid ways to travel to Memphis.

As the Bible describes multiple gods in both the Old Testament and New Testament, it follows that everyone who worshipped a “god” back then was not necessarily worshipping the God of the Bible.  A closer look at religions today reveals that not only is the nature of their gods quite different from the God of the Bible, but their eternal destinations are  also quite different.  They don’t all go to heaven, but to other places.  Here are just three examples:

  • Mormons believe that Jesus and Lucifer were brothers, and Jesus was more successful at persuading the council of gods that he should go to earth and represent them than Lucifer.  So god the father came to earth, had physical sex with Mary, and Jesus was born.  Furthermore, if you are good Mormon, you and your wife(s) get your own planet when you die, where you procreate new spirit babies that are then born on earth, just one aspect of reaching godhood.
  • Hinduism is also polytheistic, and if you are a good Hindu, after some reincarnations, you escape the wheel of samsara (reincarnation), and become one with the Atman – the All.  Similar to a drop of water falling into the ocean, the person then loses all personal identity. 

Furthermore, the positive traits that you mentioned: “love, caring, justice, giving, forgiving, fairness, kindness, selflessness, joy, and truth” are either absent or reinterpreted within the framework of Hinduism.  For example, Hindus are known for not helping the poor in India because that would interfere with their karma.  And their “truth” would include the perspective that Jesus was just one of many gods, and not even the main one.

  • Allah, the moon god, was one of the pagan deities worshipped by the people of Arabia prior to Mohammad arriving on the scene.  When he promoted his monotheism to the polytheistic inhabitants of Mecca, they chased him out of town.  He traveled to Medina, where he gathered his forces, came back and took over by deception and bloodshed.  He was a pedophile, a murderer, and a marauder who institutionalized deception (called taqiyya) within Islam, a practice embraced by Muslim leaders today.  Allah is not known for his love, and the only way you can be assured of going to paradise is if you die in jihad – religious war.  If you are a good Moslem man, you go to Paradise, where you have your own harem of 72 beautiful virgins.  (I don’t believe Muslim women end up with 72 handsome men).  The hyper-sexed Islamic culture is evident in Saudi Arabia, home of Islam’s most holy sites, where women dare not venture out of their homes without male escorts, and then covered up with a burka, lest they tempt a man to take advantage of them.  If a daughter or wife were to be raped, the father of the family would be duty-bound by Islam to kill her, thus restoring honor to the family. 

These elements are fundamental to Islam, and not merely some radical sect of Islam.  The “love, caring, justice, giving, forgiving, fairness, kindness, selflessness, joy, and truth” is largely absent within orthodox Islam. (I used to live with Moslems while in grad school in Missouri).

NOTE:  Just one of the ways that Islam is profoundly different from Christianity is how it treats women as second class citizens, even as property.  Ann Barnhardt is a brilliant, totally outspoken, former financial broker and devout Catholic who provides key insights into Islamic sexuality.  You can see her analysis here (part 1 of 4 parts)  Her videos provide great insight into the works of satan to destroy and pervert God’s ultimate creation – men and women, created in the image of God.

“Others over the years have become followers of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam, all seeking the higher frequency.”

Response: You mentioned “the higher frequency”.  By this do you mean there is some all-pervasive power that believers in religion can tap into?  Sooner or later most believers in power religion (tapping a higher power) discover that the source of their power is ultimately Satan, who comes as an angel of light, and employs his minions and multiple religions to move us toward the creation of a one world religion, one world economy, one world currency, and one world government.  By the way, we can see the foundation for this system now being established – economically, politically, socially, and religiously.

This is in direct contrast to Christians who live a life in the (Holy) Spirit, who worship and serve the sovereign, living God of the universe and His Son Jesus Christ, Who has sacrificed His life that we may be truly free.  Furthermore, in contrast to religion, which are largely man-made belief systems, Christianity offers a personal relationship with the Lord.  Jesus said:  “I am the good shepherd and My sheep hear My voice.”

Further evidence of the uniqueness of Christianity:

  • The Bible is not a single book, but a collection of 63 books written by 40 different authors with widely differing occupations from 3 different continents over 1,500 years.  And yet it portrays a common theme and a common message, indicating that it was inspired by a common source – the Holy Spirit.  The common theme is that of a sovereign, living God who is holy, just, and merciful – a God who created a universe of beauty and design, who created man in his own image with the capacity for choice, and a plan for salvation that satisfies His nature and requirements for holiness, justice, and mercy. 
  • Simon Greenleaf was the nation’s most eminent legal scholar on the rules of evidence, and the U.S. Supreme Court often referred to his books on tough cases.  A Jew, Greenleaf occasionally would speak disparagingly about Christianity.  When his students challenged him by asking if he had ever examined the evidence for Christianity, he replied that he had not, but agreed to do so.  After several months of examining the evidence for Christianity, Greenleaf converted to Christianity, convinced that the evidence was so compelling, he had no other choice.  A legal scholar, he rejected the religion of his upbringing for the truth and freedom of Christianity.
  • In the book “The Math of Christ”, retired U.S. Army Colonel Stephen M. Bauer identifies 40 prophecies from the Old Testament that have been fulfilled, and the odds that they have happened by chance.  He discovered that the chances that these happened by chance is one chance in 1×10 to the 136th power.  Some scientists believe that the earth is 10 billion years old.  Translating this into seconds, this would amount to a mere 4.8 x 10 to the 17th power seconds.  Among all religious, only Christianity has such a record of fulfilled prophecies.
  • An intelligent design movement has emerged from within the evolutionist

community (including some prominent evolutionary scientists).  These scientists have come to the conclusion that the complexity of the universe cannot be explained by Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution, but reveals evidence of intelligence – of design by a conscious being.  All of which is totally consistent with the Biblical account of creation. 

Stepping back and looking at these issues from an overall perspective, what difference does it make?  The Bible not only articulates a world view and theology that is exclusive, it provides a strong admonition against those who teach other views: 

“I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ.  But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.  As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.”                         Galatians 1:6-9 

We cannot serve both God and mammon.  We will either love one and hate the other, or hate one and love the other.

I apologize for the length of this note to you.  I would welcome the opportunity to continue this conversation – by e-mail or in person.

Best regards,

Is Islam a Religion of Peace?

In the U.S., all of those embracing Islam and thus the tenets of the Islamic faith are not enemies of the U.S. because in reality, a very small number of the millions of Muslim believers support a violent and extreme view of their faith.


I agree with you.  However, this is still significant.  Estimates vary widely, but if only 5 percent of those claiming the Muslim faith are radical, and there are 3 million Muslims in the U.S., that would mean there are 150,000 Muslims in this country that believe the only sure way to Paradise (where the 73 virgins are waiting for them) is to die in jihad – holy war against the infidels (that would be us).  150,000 is scary, since it took a relative handful (25-100 or so with their support network) to give us 9-11.

Regarding the vast majority of “good” Muslims who are peaceful, they are largely irrelevant in the big scheme of things, as were the majority of Germans during Nazi Germany.  Actually they are not irrelevant.  If there are so many, and they are so virtuous, where are the letters to the editor and the vocal, public opposition to the Muslim radicals?  Wouldn’t that carry more weight with their Muslim brothers than voices from non-Muslims?  By their silence, they condone the murder of thousands of Americans.  Those red stains on their hands are the blood of 9-11 victims.

It is interesting that Walid Shoebat, a former Muslim terrorist before he turned to Christ, says that you are either a Muslim or you are not.  If you follow the Koran, then you are a Muslim.  Not a moderate Muslim.

Let’s look at this from a spiritual perspective.  From the Koran, there are the believers and the non-believers, and there is war between them.  The moderates may not be enemies of the U.S., but they deny that Christ was the Son of the sovereign, living God who came to free us from our sins.

The U.S. supported the Shah of Iran, a cruel, maniacal and ruthless dictator who allowed U.S. petrochemical companies to own and take from the country 80% of the profits from Iran’s extensive oil resources. The Shah sold out his own countrymen and his death squads (secret police) murdered hundreds of thousands of his critics.  All the while the U.S. provided arms and military support to protect its very profitable arrangement with him and the U.S. oil companies.

However, my friend said that what provoked the Islamic population the most was the decadence and wickedness that U.S. business interests introduced to the country, mostly in Tehran.  Alcohol abuse and dependence soared along with the concurrent problems during those years.  As did male and female prostitution, pornography, and other sex-oriented businesses AND the concurrent problems of out-of-wedlock pregnancies, abortion and sexually transmitted diseases.  These problems were almost unknown before the influences of the western oil companies, and especially the USA.  A growing resentment towards the U.S. was ignored by both the Shah’s government and the U.S. State Dept. and business interests.  They figured the Shah and his “police” could handle it.


Very interesting.  I was not aware of the negative influence of the Western culture, particularly the U.S. on Moslem cultures.  We just finished listening to a book-on-tape called “The Road to Hell” by a retired CIA official who was in charge of the Bin Laden unit.  His description of Bin Laden described him as a man of integrity who told the world what his grievances were against the West, and what he would do if they were not addressed (provoke attacks in 13 nations).  They were not addressed, and he did as he promised.  Ironically, his integrity greatly exceeds that of Muhammad.

You get the picture.  Western interests–especially US. interests–corrupted the major city in a traditionally Islamic city.  The first Ayatollah came to power, as a throw-back to a rigid and extreme version of a religious system that was better than the wickedness that our culture offered.  My friend also explained the rather complicated and numerous different and sometimes violent (to each other) sects of Islamic influence that are both unique to certain regions and nations and in some cases spill over into different regions and countries.  Up to that point, I thought that Muslim people were pretty much located in a couple of ethnically Arab countries, those which opposed Israel going all the way back to Ishmael.  And well, I guess part of that was correct–the ethnic Arab part.


I understand why many Iranians would want to get rid of the Shah.  At the same time, many may not have understood what was in store with them when Khomeni came to power.  They went from one extreme to another.  Incidentally, I believe the conflict between different Muslim sects is prophesied in the Bible:  “The angel of the Lord said to Hagar, Sarah’s maid and the mother of Ishmael: ‘Behold, you are with child, and you shall bear a son.  You shall call his name Ishmael, because the Lord has heard your affliction.  He shall be a wild man; his hand shall be against every man, and every man’s hand against him.”  Genesis 16:11-12

Most of the violent Islamic attacks in the West have been perpetrated by extremists with political and ethnic ties that may very well be a greater influence than their religious beliefs.  The numbers of Islamic peoples worldwide are far more numerous outside of Arab nationalities, yet those perpetrating violence in the name of Allah are dominated numerically by those with Arabic heritage.  Islam isn’t the culprit in the terrorism we have experienced; social, political, military, and economic influences are far more powerful.


I agree that most of the violent Islamic attacks on the West have come from ethnically Arab countries.  In part that is because that is where we have concentrated our military interventions, primarily because that is where the OIL is.  We were invited by Saudi Arabia to come in and protect Saudi Arabia and liberate Kuwait from the tyrannical Saddam Hussein, a fellow Muslim state.  This outraged many Muslims.

  • But a more intriguing observation is that the very poorest Islamic states, such as Bangladesh have historically produced far fewer terrorists than the wealthiest (Saudi Arabia).  It appears that it is the nations that are experiencing rapid economic growth that experience subsequent increases in terrorist activity.
  • In his recent book “Secrets of the Koran”, Don Richardson contends that the Islamic extremists who have perpetuated the most violence in the West are the most literate about the Koran and its exhortation on how to live and how to interact with non-believers.  For example, Richard Reid, the attempted shoe bomber, had memorized huge amounts of the Koran.  This is common among the extremists.  These are the fundamentalists of Islam, who take the Koran literally, including its 109 war verses, exhorting violence against non-believers (Source:  Richardson above).  
  • This would be one strong factor that would lead us to believe it is Islam, as expressed in the Koran that is the driving force for this violence.
  • Another factor is that in Islam, the separation between social, political, and religious facets of our society largely do not exist.  Islam is a total system, in which all facets of life are dictated by the Koran and the religious mullahs of a nation.  Turkey is perhaps the only Muslim nation with a secular government, and even there, radical Muslim mullahs seek to take power.
  • I would add that in non-Arabic nations with significant Muslim populations, most of the attacks seem to be focused on those governments.

Apparently you and I are in agreement that poverty, limited educational and vocational opportunities and oppressive governing regimes seem to be rich environments for extremist cultivation.  But in the Arab world, the U.S. bears much responsibility for the hatred that has evolved in the past half-century.  


I agree that on the surface, poverty, limited educational and vocational opportunities and oppressive governing regimes seem to be rich environments for extremist cultivation.  And I agree that the U.S. bears significant responsibility for the hatred that has evolved in the past half-century.  However, it is important to examine the root causes of poverty, limited educational and vocational opportunities, and oppressive governing regimes:

  • Why are millions of young Muslim boys and youth put in madrasses – Islamic religious schools – where radical Islam is taught, but math, science, and other basic subjects are not? 
  • How smart does the religious/political leadership of a nation have to be to understand that this is a formula for developing suicide bombers, not a work force capable of successfully competing in the world economy?  This doesn’t make sense to us, but it makes perfect sense to those seeking to establish a global Islamic empire by force.
  • The terrorists who gave their lives attacking the World Trade Center were obviously motivated by something other than economic considerations.  A considerable body of research indicates that terrorists are generally better-educated and financially better off than the vast majority of their fellow citizens.  Far from poverty being the root cause of violence of violence and stability – or terrorism, experience suggests that the process of economic modernization more often works to magnify the appeal of radical ideologies, as individuals compare their status with consumer lifestyles of New York, London, or Paris.
  • Why are nearly all Islamic states dictatorships, with a history of violating human rights of their own people?  Can they blame that on us?  Ayaan Hirsi Ali, author of the book “Infidel” describes this violence in her life experience of being raised in a Muslim family and culture in Somalia and Saudi Arabia.  She has received numerous death threats for raising these issues.

I had an English professor at Ouachita who was a Lebanese Christian.  He grew up in a Palestinian refugee camp and honestly asked a question I’d never even considered at the time.  “Why does the U.S. support a country (Israel) that is clearly non-Christian? Why would the U.S. openly support a country (Israel) that openly mistreated millions of Christians?”  And he made it clear that he was referring to “Christians” in the faith sense, not just in the political sense.


Our support of Israel would stem from multiple sources:

  • Christianity was grafted on to the tree of Judaism.  Jesus was a Jew, who was born in Israel, conducted His ministry there, called His disciples there, died there, rose again there, and will return there.  God chose the Jewish people as a vehicle through whom the Messiah would come, Who would bless all nations.  And Jesus is coming back – not to Mecca or New Jersey, but to Israel.  So many Christians have a strong connection to Judaism.
  • There are millions of Jews in the U.S. who have clout in the financial, economic, political, and media arenas that they exert on behalf of Israel.
  • Unlike the vast majority of its Islamic neighbors, Israel shares many basic values with the U.S., such as a belief in the importance of a democracy and basic human rights.

My concern is the assumption that Islam is the problem.  It appears to me that other influences have had a much greater poisonous effect upon Middle Eastern extremists.  Those extremists have some justification in their hatred of the West, unfortunately. And I suspect that the “Little and Big Satans” are a result of perhaps the same kind of religious bias that we have been promoting against millions of Muslims who haven’t even got a dog in this hunt.


I agree that extremists have some justification for their hatred of the West, but to contend that other influences have had a much greater effect upon the extremists seems unwarranted.  We can discover some valuable clues by taking a look at Islam and Christianity, particularly their founders:

  • Muhammad led dozens of raids on Jewish and native caravans in Saudi Arabia, for spoil, plunder, and women.  If they died in the raid, they would go straight to Paradise, where 72 virgins would be waiting for them.  Life is good, but death is even better…
  • Muhammad killed many people who opposed his offensive raids, and attacking Jewish communities in Medina because they would not support him and his religion that worshipped Allah, the Moon God of Arabia.
  • Muhammad used his religion for his own lustful desires.  It is commonly known that, while Islam allows a man to have four wives, Muhammad had at least twice that number.  Furthermore, after his own son married a beautiful young woman, “Allah” told Muhammad that she was to become HIS wife.  So he took her away from his own son and added her to his harem.
  • Muhammad consummated the marriage to his youngest wife when she was only 9 years of age, the legal definition of a pedophile.
  • Muhammad embraced deception and institutionalized it within Islam.  The Arabic name for this deception is Taqiyya, and the president of Indonesia, the world’s most populous Islamic nation, invoked this very principle in a speech to a gathering of Islamic nations a few years ago.

In contrast, Jesus urged His followers to love their enemies, to marry one wife, to not even think about lusting after another, and to be honest in all matters.

It would appear to me historically that any religious system can be perverted into justification for violence.  Certainly, even Christianity has had its shameful periods of violence.  But even those times were more influenced by political, economic and power grabbing motivations.


I agree that any religious system can be perverted into justification for violence, but what if that religious system has embraced and even institutionalized violence within it?  We can gain further insight into Islam by looking at CURRENT practices in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and other fundamentalist Islamic nations:

  • If a woman is raped, she can be returned to her family (as spoiled goods), who are entitled to kill her to preserve the family honor.  Is this not barbaric, and an expression of male chauvinism to the ultimate extreme?
  • If a Muslim converts to another religion, his family is to kill him/her, also to protect the family “honor”.  An Egyptian scholar and professor of Islamic Culture at the University of Cairo, the largest university in Egypt recently converted to Christianity.  Because of his conversion, he had to flee Egypt because his father set out to kill him.
  • Female genital mutilation is common.

A mother in Gaza stated that the happiest day of her life was when her son blew himself up as a suicide bomber in Israel.  Is this not a culture of death?  Islam exhorts its followers to die for Islam, while Christ died for our sins on the cross.

One HUGE difference between Islam and Christianity is that violence is justified and institutionalized within Islam, while periods of violence within Christianity (the crusades, inquisition, etc.) typically represent behavior conducted by a worldly, legalistic, and/or fleshly “church” (usually the Roman Catholic Church) in direct disobedience to the message from the New Testament.  Thus the distinction between the remnant – the true, Spirit-led living body of Christ and the large, political/religious systems that use Christian terminology and claim authority from Christ for their own purposes is absolutely critical.  Jesus said that His kingdom is not of this world, yet the Roman Catholic Church is considered a political entity, and sends out ambassadors, owns hospitals, seminaries, universities, commercial property, and consorts with world leaders.

I am not particularly well-informed as to the specific potential for religious abuses in the Islamic faith and traditions.  What I do see in the potential for violence with the right combination of wealth, power and political influence (in that order) with nations who are predominantly Islamic is scary.  Saudi Arabia comes to mind– one of our “allies”.  Weren’t 17 of the 18, 9/11 suicide attackers from Saudi Arabia?  


I am sure that there are religious abuses of all religions.  But what if violence is embedded in the religion itself?  What other religion claims that the only sure way to paradise is to die in holy war against infidels?  What other religion is known for its schools for suicide bombers?

I agree with you about scary scenarios involving Islam.  And in an era of asymmetrical warfare (planes flown into skyscrapers, etc.), it doesn’t take as much money to cause great destruction.

Finally, I think that whenever we reduce human behavior to material terms, and consequently give primacy to materialist solutions, we overlook more significant causes of violent behavior.  Ultimately, this perspective is humanist and even Marxist.  Marx believed if we could create a society in which all human needs were met, people would become virtuous, and there would be no need for police (he said the police state would “wither away”).  And yet, the track record of Marxist nations is over 100 million people being killed in service of this humanist, utopian dream.

In contrast, Christianity recognizes that we are fallen, that we sin of our own volition, and that people can and do really bad things, regardless of their economic condition.  It is even worse when a political or religious system encourages this.  When a nation is built on Christian assumptions about human nature, which our nation was, it not only leads to greater economic prosperity, it leads to less violence as well.   

Yours is a good question.  What comes first in this dangerous spiral; the chicken or the egg?  


It all started in the garden, where sin entered into a perfect environment.  And that sin took place in an environment of perfect economic prosperity – all of their needs were met.  And yet they sinned.  You know the rest of the story.