Tag Archives: Islam


Ron’s #13: Life of Pi by Yann Martel

Animals. Religion. India. Philosophy. Shipwreck. Friendship. Stories. Survival. Canada.

Life of Pi tells the story of sixteen-year-old Pi Patel, a unique young man growing up at a family zoo in India. As an act of faith, Pi takes on Hinduism, Islam, and Catholicism without any problems of contradiction. Soon, his faith is tested as he is shipwrecked in the Pacific with a strange companion to share a lifeboat.

There is much to this book. It’s an easy read in terms of story, but there are many aspects that require reflection and discussion. While I disagree with some of the notions of Yann’s religion and his worldview, I do feel like it is an excellent portrayal of struggling to live and struggling to believe.

Yann Martel is a formidable writer who created a wonderful story that you’ll think about long after you close the book. In fact, you’ll even question whether the story you just read really is the story you just read.

The movie version is coming out 12/2012. I’m eager to see how it will work considering much of the novel is philosophical musing. I’m also eager to see how Tobey Maguire can play a teenaged Indian boy.


Mark’s #8 – America Alone: The End of the World As We Know It by Mark Steyn

There are some alarming trends in western culture that led author and journalist Mark Steyn to issue a wakeup call to America.  Whether you agree or disagree, Steyn’s points should not be ignored.

Put briefly, Steyn believes that the western world in particular, and the world as a whole is at risk of being dominated by islamic culture, religion, and politics within just a few generations.  His reasoning springs from an analysis of the demographic data, naive multiculturalism, and political correctness trends within western liberal democratic nations – particularly Europe.

  • Demographics –  The birth rates of Western European countries have fallen well below the sustainable society rate of 2.1 births per woman.  Some of these countries like France, Italy, Germany, and Spain range from a rate of 1.1 -1.3 births.  So what does this mean?  It means that these big government socialist countries will not be able to sustain their welfare state in the near future, since no one will be around to pay for these luxuries.  Enter into this equation their need for immigrants, mostly from muslim background, their very high birth rates, and their hatred for all infidels, Europe will soon be known as Eurabia.
  • Naive Multiculturalism – It’s ironic that those most committed to multiculturalism will be some of the first infidels to have their religious and individual liberties stripped away from them once Islamic Sharia law takes hold in a democratic majority.  Those quickest to speak of Islam as “a beautiful religion of peace” will be perplexed by the brutality of such a government.  Once there is an Islamic majority, how do you think feminists, gays and lesbians, and others of an alternative lifestyle will be treated? Islam will play the victim card whenever possible in the West, while at the same time spouting a blatantly racist and exclusivist agenda against infidels.
  • Political Correctness – The spirit of our age is one of unprecedented political correctness – and it will be the death of us if we don’t respond with a logical force of thought and public engagement.

The only hope for Western civilization, as Steyn sees it (a Canadian by the way), is for America to respond and return to the ideology and fortitude that first made America a super power.   But even here, the trending signs are not encouraging… take for example Barrack Obama’s ‘Apology to the World’ tour.  This does not make Islamist view the infidels of America in a more favorable light.  Rather, in the Islamic mind, actions like these shout weakness and opportunities for more victories by terrorists.

Wake up America.

“Far from being tortured, the prisoners [at Guantanamo] are being handled literally with kid gloves (or simulated kid-effect gloves). The U.S. military hands each jihadist his complimentary copy of the Koran as delicately as white-gloved butlers bringing His Lordship the Times of London. It’s not just unbecoming to buy in to Muslim psychoses; in the end, it’s self-defeating. And our self-defeat is their surest shot at victory…Even a loser can win when he’s up against a defeatist. A big chunk of Western Civilization, consciously or otherwise, has given the impression that it’s dying to surrender to somebody, anybody. Reasonably enough, the jihadists figure: hey, why not us?”


“A big chunk of Western civilization, consciously or otherwise, has given the impression that it’s dying to surrender to somebody, anybody. Reasonably enough, Islam figures: Hey, why not us?”


“The state has gradually annexed all the responsibilities of adulthood – health care, child care, care of the elderly – to the point where it’s effectively severed its citizens from humanity’s primal instincts, not the least the survival instinct…They corrode the citizen’s sense of self-reliance to a potentially fatal degree.”


JRF’s #11 – The Gospel for Muslims by Thabiti Anyabwile

How do you share the Gospel with Muslisms?  You share the Gospel with Muslims.

This isn’t  a book about new methods and tricks you can use to convert Muslims with.  It is a book written by a former Muslim who has been transformed by the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and now has a passion to share that Gospel with those still in Islam’s grip.

Anyabwile’s theme for the book is clearly seen in it’s subtitle: “an Encouragement to Share Christ with Confidence”.  He debunks the popular belief amongst believers that, “somehow Muslims require a different gospel or a special technique, that Muslims are somehow impervious to the Gospel in a way that other sinners are not.” (p.13)

The first portion of the book is focused on the Gospel itself.  Anyabwile encourages the reader to trust in the power of the Gospel by sharing personal stories where he has seen the truth and love of Christ pierce the hearts of muslims.  He also affirms the importance of doctrinal clarity in evangelism.  He shows the importance of defining terms like sin, repentance, and faith Biblically for those terms signify something drastically different to a Muslim.  While acknowledging that there is some theological common ground between Muslims and Christians (they recognize they are in a creature/creator relationship with god and that all mankind will have to one day give an account to that god) he also shows the importance of highlighting not the similarities between Christianity and Islam, but the radical differences.  Using uniquely Biblical phrases like, “born again,’ ‘united to Christ,’ and ‘a new creation’ communicate the very real differences between an Islamic and Christian understanding of conversion.”  I found this first section to be a great ecouragement and exhortation to trust in the power of the Gospel to save and transform.

In the second half of the book Anyabwile illustrates how life patterns that should be normative for disciples of Christ – gracious and intentional hospitality, loving and active membership in a local body of Christ followers and joyfully suffering for the sake of the Gospel – are the best background music for sharing the beautiful Song of the Good News of Jesus with Muslims.

I have seen God already use this short book to strengthen my resolve to live a Gospel centered life and ministry.  I have had the undeserved joy of sharing the Gospel with Muslims before and pray that I have the opportunity to do so in the future, in fact it is my wife and my prayer that we spend the rest of our life doing so.  If that opportunity does come, I know that I will be thankful for this book.


Ron’s #15: Son of Hamas by Mosab Hassan Yousef

Son of Hamas has been discussed on several of the blogs I follow, and I was eager to read it. This book did not disappoint. It offered more insight into the Israel-Palestine conflict than anything else I’ve read. It offered a better face of Palestine, reveals problems with how Israel handles the occupation, and shows the power of the Christian message.

Mosab Hassan Yousef is the son of Hassan Yousef, a founding member of Hamas (the acronym of Islamic Resistance Movement) in Palestine. The younger Yousef describes his father as a good Muslim with a love for his people. However, he begins to question the terrorist actions that Hamas is involved in, and works with Israel’s Shin Bet—the equivalent of our F.B.I.—as a spy. Imagine the son of Hamas passing on key information to Israel to thwart future attacks.

The story is more than a spy tale; it’s an account of the crisis of conscience that Yousef undergoes as he wants the best for his people while realizing that bombs and guns are not the answer. He is a man between two worlds, and he no longer belongs to either.

This alienation is complicated further when he meets a British missionary who invites him to a Bible study. Being an inquisitive man, Yousef attends and learns about the teachings of Jesus. Even though he isn’t yet a Christian, Yousef begins to put Jesus’ teaching into practice: he’s a Muslim becoming more Christi-like. Finally, in 2000, Mosab Yousef becomes a Christian.

I enjoyed this book because it was many genres in one: history book, spy thriller, political overview, and a conversion story. All are told well in this volume.

Son of Hamas is a book that you should read regardless of your religious persuasion or political affinities. It will provide you an important overview to the Middle East conflict, one that will be with us for some time to come.

Check out Mark’s review here

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