Monthly Archives: February 2015

Abram’s Pilgrimage – Beginning the Faith Walk [Faith of Or Fathers 2]

New2_Faith of Our Fathers_ABRAM–Pilgrimage, Our Journey With God

By Steven E. Daskal


 Genesis 14:1-17 Abram again acts as a responsible and courageous leader towards Lot, despite their somewhat strained parting. Abram led out just over 300 men to engage the victorious armies of 4 kings [really city/tribe chieftains, but still probably substantially outnumbering Abraham’s little tribe]. The pursuit ranges over 100 miles — a considerable distance, even if all concerned were mounted.


Genesis 14:18-24 We see Abram as obedient, humble, & faithful in thanksgiving to the Lord. After his victory over the Aramean kings who had carried off Lot and his people, when Melkhizedek came out to him, he gave his tenth-part offering to God, and also claimed no part of the booty from the pagan kings, only the restoration of what was his prior to the attack. Why did Abram behave as if he were accountable to Melkhizedek? Why did Abram give such a substantial offering to him? It would seem that Melkhizedek was clearly a priest of the One God, and even though Abraham’s coalition partners were pagans, they were not astonished at what he did.  [Read Psalm 110, esp v4]


Gen 15 The LORD’s promise reiterated for a 4th time (twice directly, once via Melkhizedek), now as a formal Near Eastern covenant, more explicitly defining both the land of promise and the people of promise. 15:6 “Abram believed the LORD, and He credited it to him as righteousness.” This is pivotal. It is repeated by Paul in Romans 4 and in the author of Hebrews in Hebrews 11.


Gen 16:1-6 Abram believes God’s promises, but still thinks he is obliged to do something himself. Working on that false premise, backed by Sumerian/Babylonian custom and law, Abram accepts Sarai’s traditional and well-intentioned but short-sighted and foolish offer. Abram rejected passivity in one sense, but like Adam with Eve, followed Sarai’s worldly suggestion, and then did not accept responsibility or lead courageously when friction arose between Sarai and Hagar, or between Ishmael and Isaac decades later.


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Filed under Judeo-Christianity, Religion, Steven E. Daskal

Does Islam sanction burning people to death?

Many of us heard on the news or witnessed on the internet the murder of the Jordanian Pilot by Islamic State in Iraq and Syria/Levant (ISIS/L) operatives.  By quoting from the Qur’an and other Islamic texts Islamic Literalists like those who belong to ISIS/L believe they are following their revealed religion to the letter of the law as they interpret it. ISIS/L’s reading of the Qur’an leads them to assert that they are waging a defensive jihad — a total war to defend Islam against both non-believers and apostates, with the Jordanian being in the latter category as a professing Muslim who took up arms against the jihad. Thus, his execution was legitimate under Qur’an and Shari’a, but shocking and horrific to Westerners and to those, like the Hashemites of Jordan and many of those in the national elite, who are secularized Muslims.  Obviously many in the Islamic world do not agree with this literalist interpretation. Whether most or many agree with this interpretation we are witnessing Muslims in the Middle east attacking ISIS/L not over their interpretation of Islamic texts but rather because these Sunni regimes are or eventually will be targets of the Islamic State. These Sunni Muslim regimes were not motivated by the slaughter of Americans, Christians, Shiites, and Yazidis but were moved by the horrible burning death of a Jordanian Pilot from an influential tribe in Jordan that fully supports Hashemite rule in the Kingdom of Jordan.  There are MANY so-called “moderate” Sunni Muslims who accept killing of unbelievers, apostates, and open heretics [e.g., Shi’a], but draw the line at judicial killing or terrorist killing of other Sunnis, even if their faith is only nominal. Below we will examine these verses to determine if ISIS/L operatives burned the Pilot to death in accordance with the Islamic texts or in clear violation of these texts.

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Filed under General, Islam, Religion