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I have moved.

I have officially moved my blog to I wanted a bit more control and a cleaner, more category-oriented interface. So there you have it.

Thanks to the amazing power of Wordpress, I was able to import all of my entries (and comments!) from this blog, so hop on over and we'll pick up where we left off. It was a fun little ride here at blogger; I was honored to be chosen as a "blog of note", and I will leave this site up for as long as they allow. But, if you have been kind enough to link to me, please update your links!

The new site is a lot more comment-friendly, among other neat features, such as:

• Live Search. Want to find that article you remember from a few weeks ago? Just start typing and a list of results will appear in real-time!

• Asides. I can now post little tidbits that are interesting (to me, at least), but may not be worthy of a full-fledged "post." Cool, eh?

• Live Archives. Simply click to sort my archives by date or category and see the results in real-time, just like the Live Search.

• Finally! Recent Comments. Follow the discussion better than before with one glance at the Recent Comments list.

Those are just a few of the cool new features, so come check it out for yourself. I think you'll be pleased with the clean, easier-to-read layout as well as the powerful search capabilities.

Google Dashboard Widgets for Tiger

I'm just giving the Blogger dashboard widget a whirl.

Seems to work well! By the way, pardon my recent silence; work has been quite busy, and I'm in the process of launching a new design firm/web site. Check back soon for updates.

Why he published those cartoons...

The Washington Post has a very interesting article written by Flemming Rose, entitled Why I Published Those Cartoons. Rose is the culture editor of the Danish newspaper, Jyllands-Posten that first published the controversial Mohammed cartoons.

I really recommend reading this. Rose makes some compelling points regarding self-censorship and world religions. Here's an appetizer:
On occasion, Jyllands-Posten has refused to print satirical cartoons of Jesus, but not because it applies a double standard. In fact, the same cartoonist who drew the image of Muhammed with a bomb in his turban drew a cartoon with Jesus on the cross having dollar notes in his eyes and another with the star of David attached to a bomb fuse. There were, however, no embassy burnings or death threats when we published those.

Has Jyllands-Posten insulted and disrespected Islam? It certainly didn't intend to. But what does respect mean? When I visit a mosque, I show my respect by taking off my shoes. I follow the customs, just as I do in a church, synagogue or other holy place. But if a believer demands that I, as a nonbeliever, observe his taboos in the public domain, he is not asking for my respect, but for my submission. And that is incompatible with a secular democracy.

This is exactly why Karl Popper, in his seminal work "The Open Society and Its Enemies," insisted that one should not be tolerant with the intolerant. Nowhere do so many religions coexist peacefully as in a democracy where freedom of expression is a fundamental right. In Saudi Arabia, you can get arrested for wearing a cross or having a Bible in your suitcase, while Muslims in secular Denmark can have their own mosques, cemeteries, schools, TV and radio stations.

I acknowledge that some people have been offended by the publication of the cartoons, and Jyllands-Posten has apologized for that. But we cannot apologize for our right to publish material, even offensive material. You cannot edit a newspaper if you are paralyzed by worries about every possible insult.

Go read the rest.

In the meantime, I'm going to be polishing some responses to the latest discussions from my comments sections. A busy weekend kept me from this, but there are many questions and comments that deserve attention, so please stay tuned!

Come on, people. READ THE BOOK.

After my recent post about Islam, there was extensive discussion in the comment section. I realized that I should state my position on Islam more clearly, and I'm currently working on an article that does that, as well as comparing Islam to Christianity. Unfortunately, this week has been insanely busy, and I haven't yet had the time to finish it.

In the meantime, I'd like to say a couple of quick things about religion in general. Basically, people need to read the book. I don't think we can say "I'm ok, you're okay" and still assert that there is objective truth. But, I must say that if no one isn't even holding to the fundamentals of their faith, what is the point? This applies to modern, "moderate" Muslims who continue to argue that Islam is a "religion of peace." The fact of the matter is (as I will put forth in my upcoming article), Mohammed was interested in establishing and maintaining an earthly empire. Thus, violence was - and is - necessary to fulfill the commission of Mohammed: expanding and maintaining theological and political power. Those who claim to be Islamic pacifists are plainly contradicting the goals and purpose of their founder. Like Christians who do the same, Muslims who claim to be "OK with other world religions" are compromising their own faith. If other faiths are "just as good" as yours, then what can yours possibly be worth? I'll deal with this concept more soon.

Shifting the focus to Christianity, there are many "progressive theologians" that are creating an entirely new religion but continuing to masquerade as Christians. True followers see this for what it is: apostasy, dishonesty and damnable heresy. But sadly, many are enticed by the concept of "open minded", "non-judgmental" spirituality. It's a free country, and people are entitled to believe what they want to believe. However, it must be said and understood that this is not Christianity. It is not what Jesus taught; it is not what his apostles taught, and it is not what primitive Christians believed and practiced. Sure, "times change", but truth doesn't.

Of course, this is nothing new. Spiritual "leaders" have been adulterating the truth for centuries in one way or another, often with dangerous subtlety. I suppose subtlety is passé, because many so-called "Christian leaders" are now blatantly forsaking articles of faith in order to pursue their own desires. Today on I see this headline:

Booze lands gay bishop in rehab

Are you kidding me? That sounds like the start of a bad joke, does it not?

Like Muslims who are willfully ignorant of their own leader's purpose and writings, so-called Christians knowingly forsake theirs. Groups like the Episcopalians, the Unitarians, and the United Church of Christ (to name a very select few) have completely abandoned the Bible and are promoting a product of their own imagination. It is simply not Christianity.

Without fail, I will be called narrow-minded, judgmental, etc.; yet, I am not making judgments according to my own ideas and desires. I am simply pointing to these groups' departure from the book they claim as their guide. Jesus said, "...the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day" (John 12:48).

These apostate groups would try to justify or explain their behavior. I am sure that they would argue that they are somehow still in accordance with God's will. It just doesn't fly. Here's an example:

A "Homosexual Bishop"

Homosexuality is a hot-button issue in and out of the church, and there are several practical, secular cases against it. However, for the sake of time and space I'd like to deal with it according to the Scriptures solely.

One of the favorite comebacks from so-called Christians who want to justify homosexuality is this: "Jesus never said anything about homosexuality!" This is fallacious to the core, as there are many things Jesus did not directly condemn that we know to be wrong. For example, Jesus did not condemn bestiality or child molestation. Does that mean Christians should be free to pursue those desires? Obviously not. Ultimately, Jesus was not silent on the matter. His specificity concerning what is an acceptable human relationship logically excludes any alternative. Note his words in Matthew 19:4-6:
Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.
People are willing to use logic every day, but when it comes to honestly reading scripture it seems they abandon all rationality. Jesus details God's design for a human sexual relationship. This description is specific, and logic tells us that Jesus did not need to spend the next hour detailing what "Male and Female" does NOT include. It's common sense. He also didn't need to call out homosexuality in particular because it had always been wrong and his audience was well aware of this (Leviticus 18:22; 20:13). The apostle Paul reiterated this idea in Romans 1:26-17 where he calls homosexuality "shameful" and "against nature."

There is no rational case for Homosexuality. The Bible plainly teaches that it is sexual sin; that is that. Yet, CNN tells us that a Homosexual Episcopalian bishop is now in rehab. Is it clear how loony that is?

I originally intended to deal with the concept of "priests" and "laity" as well, but this has become quite long. Briefly, there is absolutely no New Testament authority for a "clergy" of any kind. This concept was an innovation of the Catholic church, who have traditionally held Peter in the highest esteem of all the apostles. It's interesting to note that Peter wrote that all Christians make up the priesthood, with Jesus Christ as High Priest (Hebrews 2:17; 3:1; 4:14, etc.).

Much more can be said on these matters, but for the sake of space I'll stop here. The point is, if you desire to be a Christian, you are subject to the tenets of Christianity, namely the New Testament of Christ. If you practice something else, you are something else. Makes sense, doesn't it?

Google copies your hard drive?

According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation:
San Francisco - Google today announced a new 'feature' of its Google Desktop software that greatly increases the risk to consumer privacy. If a consumer chooses to use it, the new 'Search Across Computers' feature will store copies of the user's Word documents, PDFs, spreadsheets and other text-based documents on Google's own servers, to enable searching from any one of the user's computers. EFF urges consumers not to use this feature, because it will make their personal data more vulnerable to subpoenas from the government and possibly private litigants, while providing a convenient one-stop-shop for hackers who've obtained a user's Google password.

'Coming on the heels of serious consumer concern about government snooping into Google's search logs, it's shocking that Google expects its users to now trust it with the contents of their personal computers,' said EFF Staff Attorney Kevin Bankston. 'Unless you configure Google Desktop very carefully, and few people will, Google will have copies of your tax returns, love letters, business records, financial and medical files, and whatever other text-based documents the Desktop software can index. The government could then demand these personal files with only a subpoena rather than the search warrant it would need to seize the same things from your home or business, and in many cases you wouldn't even be notified in time to challenge it. Other litigants—your spouse, your business partners or rivals, whoever—could also try to cut out the middleman (you) and subpoena Google for your files.'
But who cares about privacy, right?

Islam: Religion of Peace

From 9/11, to the train attacks in Spain to the London bombings, it is staggering that Muslims still make the claim that Islam is a "religion of peace" and it still garners sympathizers in the media (I'm looking at you CNN, BBC, etc.). Now, with the news of Muslims violently protesting the recent Danish Mohammed cartoons. Let's get this straight: Muslims are "enraged" that the media has published cartoons that depict Mohammed as violent, and they demonstrate their disagreement by violently protesting worldwide. How does this make sense?

CNN published an article today covering the protests. The article details a number of protests which just scream "peace" and "love":

Mihtarlam, Afghanistan: a man fired shots and others threw stones and knives.

Somalia: Stone-throwers stampede, killing a teenager.

Tehran: Demonstrators protested outside the Danish Consulate and the Austrian Embassy. Reuters reported that about 200 people threw fire bombs and rocks.

Paris, France: Soir -- a newspaper that published the cartoons of Mohammed -- was evacuated for nearly three hours Monday after receiving a bomb threat.

Lebanon: The building housing the Danish Consulate was torched. The protest was planned in advance and well publicized, but Lebanese security still took hours to bring it under control.

Kashmir: Demonstrators set flags on fire and threw rocks at passing cars.

Other protests Monday took place in Amman, Tel Aviv, Gaza, and Kut, a city in southern Iraq where about 5,000 people congregated, burned flags and burned an effigy of the Danish prime minister.

Now, clearly the cartoonists (and most level-headed human beings) understood what they were talking about: Islam is a religion which uses violence to spread its message. After outlining these demonstrations of savage behavior, CNN says:

[We have] chosen to not show the cartoons out of respect for Islam. Respect? What respect has this religion earned in its 1300 years of violent existence? Not only that, but what similar respect does the liberal media offer to Christianity, a truly peaceful religion?

If you are a Muslim and claim that Islam is a religion of peace, one of two things is true: 1) You are familiar with the Koran, with the history of Islam and the theological/political views of Mohammed and you are lying. or 2) you are ignorant of the Koran and history and wish that Islam was peaceful so that you can be a member of a tolerated world religion. Unfortunately, both of these cases are based on ignorance or deceit. History is clear. Mohammed was a proponent of violence and the Koran clearly teaches that infidels, as well as any person (or state) that does not adhere to Islamic scripture are to be destroyed. That is simply the truth.

Should Islam be "tolerated"? We must ask this question honestly. Should terrorism be tolerated? Take a look at these verses from the Koran and then decide (Sura references included so you can check the context):
"Let those who would exchange the life of this world for the hereafter, fight for the cause of God; whether he dies or triumphs, We shall richly reward him. ... The true believers fight for the cause of God, but the infidels fight for the devil. Fight then against the friends of Satan ..." (4:74,76)

"Slay the idolaters wherever you find them. ... lie in ambush everywhere for them. If they repent and take to prayer and render the alms levy, allow them to go their way ..." (9:5)

"Those that make war against God and His apostle and spread disorder in the land shall be put to death or crucified or have their hands and feet cut off on alternate sides, or be banished from the land. They shall be held up to shame in this world and sternly punished in the hereafter: except those that repent before you reduce them ..." (5:34,35)

"Make war on them until idolatry shall cease and God’s religion shall reign supreme" (8:39)

"Fight against such of those to whom the Scriptures were given ... and do not embrace the true Faith, until they pay tribute out of hand and are utterly subdued." (9:29)

"And slay them wherever you catch them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out, for tumult and oppression are worse than slaughter." (2:191)

"Fighting is prescribed for you, and you dislike it. But it is possible that you dislike a thing which is good for you, and that you love a thing which is bad for you. But Allah knows, and you know not." (2:216)

"Let those fight in the cause of Allah who sell the life of this world for the Hereafter. To him who fights in the cause of Allah, - whether he is slain or gets victory – soon shall We give him a reward of great value." (4:74)

Concerning "unbelievers": "Seize them and slay them wherever you find them: and in any case take no friends or helpers from their ranks." (4:89)

Who are the unbelievers? "From those too, who call themselves Christians, We did take a covenant, but they forgot a good part of the Message that was sent to them: so We estranged them, with enmity and hatred between one and the other, to the Day of Judgment. And soon will Allah show them what they have done." (5:14)

"In blasphemy indeed are those that say that God is Christ the son of Mary." (5:17)

"O you who believe! Take not the Jews and the Christians for your friends and protectors: they are but friends and protectors to each other. And he among you that turns to them for friendship is of them." (5:51)

Concerning the Jews:"When in their insolence they transgressed all prohibitions, We said to them: "Be you apes, despised and rejected." (7:166)

"Remember your Lord inspired the angels with the message: 'I am with you: give firmness to the Believers: I will instill terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers: you smite them above their necks and smite all their finger-tips off them.'" (8:12)

"Against them make ready your strength to the utmost of your power, including steeds of war, to strike terror into the hearts of the enemies of Allah. Whatever you spend in the cause of Allah shall be repaid to you and you shall not be treated unjustly." (8:60)

"…Then fight and slay the Pagans wherever you find them, seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem of war…" (9:5)

"Allah will send His punishment from Himself or by our hands." (9:52)

I'll stop now for the sake of space, but hopefully you get the idea. These are not quotes from "radical Islam", these are references from the Koran, Islam's fundamental document. The world must examine the facts and take a stand against this violent belief system. Despite the world's CNNs and BBCs, tolerance cannot be extended to terrorism.

UPDATE: There is an interesting article in the WSJ about this whole issue. Here's the money quote:
There is no Quranic injunction against images, whether of Muhammad or anyone else.

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