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More Joel Richardson Nonsense

More dimness from apocalyptic anti-Muslim Christian Joel Richardson:

Islamic Scholars Wrestle With Death-For-Apostasy Issue

If they decide in Death for Apostasy, there will no longer be a debate among liberals as to whether or not Islam conflicts with basic human rights. However, if they go the other way, it will open the door for further whitewashing of the reality on the ground in much of the Muslim world.

In other words, Muslim scholars can be divided into those who admit they want the infidels to be killed, and those who pretend they don’t. Presumably there can’t be a strand of serious Muslim discussion which is truly moderate and seeks an accommodation with civil society, because that would upset the “Muslim anti-Christ” fantasy which Richardson reads into the Bible and which is a central tenet of his militarised Christian fundamentalism.

Amusingly, this comes just days after WorldNetDaily, which has published and heavily promoted Richardson’s book on ex-Muslims, ran a column which argues that the biblical Book of Deuteronomy is “the key to saving of America”; Deuteronomy, of course, has no concept of religious freedom and it demands sanguinary penalties for those whose conduct (particularly in sexual matters) is deemed unacceptable.

This enthusiasm for the laws and penalties of Deuteronomy is shared by Christian Reconstructionists and by the Jewish far-right in Israel, but most believers would reject such extremism; mainstream Judaism and Christianity derive ethical guidance from other parts of the Bible using a great variety of interpretative methods, and the religions can adapt to – and help to develop – more humane perspectives on personal freedom and human rights. There is no reason to suppose that a religion as complex and diverse as Islam does not contain similar potential, or that Muslims are of necessity insensible to the advantages offered by a free society. Certain trends in Islamic thought have rejected “death for apostasy” for a long time; the scholars now discussing the issue will hopefully lend support for this view and so improve “the reality on the ground”. On the other hand, they may not, which will indeed be a blow for freedom and civil society in the Muslim world – but it would hardly prove that tolerant Islam does not exist.

Once again, Richardson offers up a conspiracy theory rather than a considered evaluation, calculated to whip up fear and apocalyptic fatalism. But I suppose that’s what the churches which invite him to speak want to hear.

14 Responses

  1. Hi Richard,

    I’m surprised that of all of the things I regularly write about, you would choose this one issue of all others to mock. Lets put the (rather revealing) name calling aside and look at this from a purely academic, objective perspective if we could for a moment.

    All four of the Sunni jurists as well as the Shi’a are in unequivocal agreement that death for apostasy is the punishment for leaving Islam. This ruling is a foundational aspect of pure orthodox Islam. If a modern liberal deconstructionist Muslim wishes to deviate from his religion on this issue, then great! But the frustration of folks like myself who are regularly in touch with those who genuinely suffer from this ongoing religiously sanctioned abuse of human rights is the failure of folks like yourself to even consider, never mind acknowledge that this is indeed part and parcel of real Islam and not some extremist misinterpretation of it. The ongoing desire of some well-meaning but misinformed westerner liberals who demand that Islam be what they say it is, is an affront to devout Muslims the world over. Remind me why I am so crazy for simply reprinting what the leading scholars of Islam are saying. If standing for human rights and exposing institutional hatred makes me a hate monger, then I wear your label with inner satisfaction. Can you truly say the same about what you have written here? You may pretend to be a monitor of religion, rather than a hater of Christians, but from the angle of those genuinely who need the whole world to stand up for their rights, it is all too apparent who you really are.

    Blessings,
    Joel

    • Well Said Joel! There is much need of Christians to reevaluate and study Scripture in even there own beliefs..that is, to define Christianity has been to a large extent, a hip hop combination of “personal opinions” and/or religious traditions, rather than an understanding of “thus saith the Lord”! Too much psycho babel, too much philosophy..the “genetically altered Christianity”. Balance also has to do with what is true! As a Christian myself, I understand that it is just as important for me to understand what I believe as it is to understand what some other religion, such as Islam, believes if I am to accurately represent, or present a viewpoint. You Richard, don’t appear to understand Christianity nor Islam! Course most people seem to run through life not knowing what they believe. But the world is headed for polarization, and this “believe what you want” is about to change. It will soon be…”Who is on the Lord’s side”!

  2. The ongoing desire of some well-meaning but misinformed westerner liberals who demand that Islam be what they say it is, is an affront to devout Muslims the world over

    This isn’t a genuine complaint. You’re the one who suggested that if the committee finds against the death penalty that will simply be “whitewashing of the reality on the ground” rather than a genuine perspective. So, the likes of Abdullah and Hassan Saeed, authors of Freedom of Religion, Apostasy and Islam‎, or S. A. Rahman, author of Punishment of Apostasy in Islam‎, are persumably just pretending to be tolerant as part of some grand conspiracy.

  3. Richard,

    Thanks for correcting my typo. Of course, plenty of Muslims choose to follow their consciences above their religion. In fact, I would say that those that do not follow their religion are the majority. Thank God. I’m thankful for these brave and rare Muslim scholars. But these guys (and gals) are far and few in between compared to the influence brokers that affect Muslim opinion. Trust me when I say that these books are created not so much for the Muslim world, (how many languages have these two books been translated into?) but moreso for the western world and those who hope beyond hope that these men represent “real Islam”. The notion that it is the radicals that have hijacked Islam is betrayed by the simple fact that it was Muhammad himself who said that if anyone leaves his deen (religion – Islam) kill him. That’s really what is boils down to. While pulling out the moral equivalency card may be a legitimate approach with regard to issues such as democracy and Islam etc., it simply does not work with regard to this issue. Death for apostasy is affirmed by virtually every scholar of repute throughout Islamic history across the boards. To put it in another context: You are holding onto the words of the Joel Richardsons of the Islamic world, while I am looking to the words of the Jesuses, Augustines, Calvins, Luthers and so forth of the Islamic world. Believe me, I am in contact with enough former Muslims to know that the threat of death is entirely commonplace throughout the Islamic world whenever a Muslim leaves Islam. To deny that this is the reality on the ground is wishful thinking at best. Again, if we actually care about freedom and human rights issues, then liberal or conservative, this is the arena where we should be in agreement. But perhaps Christian bashing should take priority.

    Blessings, Joel

  4. To deny that this is the reality on the ground

    Nobody here is denying the persecution of ex-believers or of heterodox Muslims in Islamic societies, and I can understand why victims will have a sour view of the religion. But you’re the one who doesn’t want to consider evidence – you simply insist that if the committee rejects religious compulsion it must be a “whitewash”, and now you’re saying that all moderate or scholarly material can be dismissed out of hand because Muslim authors are either writing in bad faith in order to deceive us all or are irrelevant eccentrics disconnected from the “true” form of the religion.

    Nor do you explain why mainstream Judaism and Christianity have – after a long time – finally managed to disregard or reinterpret most of the violent and hateful parts of the Bible (both in the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament), but it is necessarily impossible for Islam to undergo any similar re-evaluation.

    As I’ve written before, I’m not interested in “defending” Islam, but I do like subjects to be considered in their full complexity.

  5. Richard,

    Please go back and re-read my comments. I did not say that the Muslims would whitewash things, but the liberals. Perfect example above. I point out to you that virtually every historical orthodox scholar of repute affirms that death for apostasy is the legitimate interpretation of Islamic jurisprudence and you have to infer that any Muslim that adheres to this fundamental aspect of their religion are “heterodox”. Again, my frustration that you simply cannot bring yourself to admit that this is in fact part and parcel of Islam’s foundation and not a misinterpretation of it.

    If the committee agreed that death should not be the proscribed punishment for apostasy (they won’t) then I will eat my words. But if they agree that it is indeed the correct proscription for leaving Islam, then I would expect you to at least consider doing the same. Of course, it will likely be some complex ruling that allows execution to go on, yet uses a smattering of language that sounds progressive specifically for the consumption of the western media. The Arabic release of the stament being slightly different than the English. This wouldn;t surprise me in the least. But we’ll see.

    A fun gentlemen’s bet perhaps? After the ruling is made, if the decision is fairly clear cut, one of us posts an apology to the other?

    Blessings, Joel

  6. Richard,

    First: Whoops: “of heterodox” not “by heterodox”. My bad there. As usual, I am too much of a rush.

    But I did want to comment regarding your need for an explanation as to why Biblical religions (Judaism and or Christianity) can “reform” or reinterpret their book, while Islam cannot. Again, from the perspective of one well versed in both Biblical and Islamic sacred and historical literature, the answer is simply because the two books are two very different books. You see, I reject your premise. Christianity never practiced violence rooted in the Bible. In history, when evils were carried out by Christians violently it was despite what their Scriptures state or in a clear perversion of what they say. But when Muslims have acted violently, quite simply, it is because their Scriptures command this quite directly. And not just their Scriptures, but also their “prophet”, his traditions, his immediate successors, and the earliest and most widely accepted and respected scholars of Islam. So while Judaism has indeed been transformed into from a Biblical faith to more of a rabbinic faith, Christianity has been largely a passive system from its very inception. Islam is simply fundamentally and foundationally flawed. You express a common assumption that seems to infer that all religions are on an equal footing. The old moral equivalency cliche that simply does not work when one actually gets there hands dirty and digs into the texts themselves.

    But the discussion certainly has been had numerous times among Christian missionaries to Muslims, as to whether or not it is good to discuss the violent portions of the Quran with your average non-violent moderate Muslim. For in doing so, many non-Quranic literate Muslims become radicalized through reading their Quran. Some thankfully will thus reject their book or become more liberal, while others will recognize it for what it says so clearly and become violent or radicalized.

    Blessings, Joel

  7. Please go back and re-read my comments. I did not say that the Muslims would whitewash things, but the liberals.

    OK, you can have that, but you now go on to say that “it will likely be some complex ruling that allows execution to go on, yet uses a smattering of language that sounds progressive specifically for the consumption of the western media”, so it amounts to the same thing, although now hedged with a “likely”. I agree that’s also possible, although not that it’s a necessary outcome due to the supposed true nature of the religion.

    A fun gentlemen’s bet perhaps? After the ruling is made, if the decision is fairly clear cut, one of us posts an apology to the other?

    I’m not interested in that, because I haven’t suggested I know one way or the other what’s going to happen. I have no brief for the committee currently considering the problem, and they may well give a disagreeable ruling.

    So while Judaism has indeed been transformed into from a Biblical faith to more of a rabbinic faith, Christianity has been largely a passive system from its very inception. Islam is simply fundamentally and foundationally flawed.

    I can’t see how the Koran is “flawed” in ways that would not also apply to the Bible – in both you can find ethically problematic passages, as well as factual errors and the obvious influence of non-canonical documents. And you don’t explain why Judaism has been able to adapt. Of course the loss of the Temple and Jewish autonomy created a need to re-think the religion, but there have been further adaptations to modernity in the last couple of hundred years; that’s why most followers of Judaism reject fundamentalist theocratic groups in Israel, such the self-styled “Sanhedrin” and various “Third Temple” extremists.

    And it’s not just because other Jewish groups are waiting for the messiah; when I was an undergrad I remember a Reform Rabbi asking us to picture “Mr and Mrs Cohen from Florida” standing before the Third Temple, watching a cow being slaughtered and the blood sprinkled over them by a priest. It’s a presposterous idea; hardly anyone who’s been raised as part of a modernized society will have a taste for this kind of religious practice, no matter what the Bible tells them they ought to be doing.

    I agree that Christian persecutions go against the main thrust of the New Testament, although there is some hateful material which Christians have decided to navigate around – particularly, since the Holocaust, the anti-Jewish rhetoric of John’s Gospel. The bigger problem is how Christians should relate to the Hebrew Bible; many American Christians support capital punishment for murder based on Old Testament teachings, but it’s now generally agreed that texts proscribing death for witchcraft should be ignored, even though this was a Protestant enthusiasm for many years. It’s now understood that court cases involving “spectral evidence” are a nonsense, despite the Biblical command.

    Interestingly, marginal Israeli extremists enjoy lots of support from Christian Zionists – your associate Joseph Farah, for instance, publishes lots of articles whitewashing the Kahanist far-right in Israel, because the Kahanist vision for Israel is seen to accord with true Biblical ideas.

    many non-Quranic literate Muslims become radicalized through reading their Quran.

    Yes, because they’ve bought into a fundamentalist methodology which says religious truth passes unmediated between a religious text and its reader – reason and historical contextualization both go out the window.

    The old moral equivalency cliche that simply does not work

    I’m not interested in measuring the “morality” of particular religions, but I think it should be acknowledged that the relationship between a society’s values and its religious texts is a complex one, and it’s simplistic to say that values are just the extension of ancient texts read plainly and unreflectively.

  8. Thanks for the response Richard. Its good to know that two fundamentalists can have a reasonable discussion. :)

    By the way, Check out http://www.godsholymountain.org I’d love to hear your perspective on this group.

    Bless you, Joel

  9. Joel,

    You will never persuade this individual because God has not enabled him to see the truth. Until God does, you are casting pearls away.

  10. This is an old post so I don’t know if this will be read but I was wondering if I might be able to ask for some clarification. To which Islamic council did the original post refer? Also, what was the outcome in the end?

    Thanks.

  11. Thank you Mr. Richardson! I nearly convinced myself that I needed more than my christian faith. Therefore considering to convert to Islam until i read your new book the Islamic Antichrist, no wonder it did not sit well within my spirit. You know the Lord loves me so much that he inspired me to purchase your book! As i began to read it and compare what the bible is stating i felt the spirit of God minister to me so that i could have better clarity in my decision rather to convert to Islam or stay true to Jesus! And I am proud to say that I am staying with Jesus….. Great Book Mr. Richardson

  12. Dear Richard,

    I am a missionary in a Muslim environment. Richard, recall the story of Job. Well Satan learned a great lesson in dealing with God’s creation and the word love. Evilness is only after one statement and its found in the book of Job. “Even though he slay me I will trust him.” Satan’s actions left him hopeless or destroy in human faith.
    However, Satan quickly realized destroying was not his option. Left with only one direction to go forward Satan set up to deceive God’s creation as from the beginning.

    What is Islam: a systematic religious machine filled with deception. Islam is mixed with truth and lies. God is great, there is only one God, all is lost, but now it is found, man lives in a scale of judgement, right must out-weight all wrongs, man must live by laws, God is not personal, faith is in religion not the spiritual world.

    How did Satan accomplish his religious task by watching Christ redeem the church. Satan had a problem with all of his fun and games until Christ became victor. Satan’s world was disorganized. Idols multiple beliefs and philosophies. Satan was a divided kingdom.

    Then one day a man wanting to do good and seek truth appeared upon the spotlight. Muhammad was his name. Satan needed an army of one. Giving Muhammad some truth and raising him up was the answer to Satan’s worries and problems and ours today. Muhammad in rejection runs wanting his revelation to rule mankind. Ah…Satan pushes a little more go take 7 Jewish towns increase your booty. Give to all who will help you steal and kill raise my army lure it with money. Satan finds a key to mens heart wealth from 2,000 to 50,000 men in two years. Again Satan pushes more, go back and take my Mecca not only the land, but the people’s free-well and choice. My sword bears my authority on earth.

    As a missionary I have on many occasion seen the affect this prophet’s story lays bear Muslim’s heart. Filled with fear, absoluteness, anger, hate, and wanting only to win. Helping young men and women escape this sentence of death is beyond any blessings a Christian could ever experience! Seeing their faith, love, & hope swell up in tears and a Holy Spirit conviction to stand….even though he slay me!

    There is a battle ragging today within God’s kingdom spilling over into humanity’s depths. It is the war between Satan’s army and God’s children. As in the story of Job…God has removed the hedges surrounding us. I have listen very intently to Joel’s words. Before coming here into Muslim territory I was also a sheltered Christian from the Western world. Up until I met Joel’s explanation and insight I stayed away from Eschatology! As you have said, by escape goat logic, the church down throughout history has rallied a call naming many things as the anti-Christ using fear and producing panic within the church; but… however, in all of Joel’s words I hear only a true Christian response to Islam. His repeated words of prayer, faith, and loving Muslims.

    Richard you have no idea the words you speak concerning Islam and the world. You are blinded by your need to smooth and white wash. Muslims are not are enemy Satan’s mind control in Islam is the enemy. You have no idea what the common Muslim believes or secretly practices for world control. Christians have been given the call to witness unto Christ’s glory and grace asking all to come and follow. Islam has been given marching orders to conqueror until all submits. Richard how can you miss the basics and then begin to expose an opinion without even being on the battle lines? Stop oppressing the cross of Christ and lend your hands, heart, and mind unto a people who need the gospel. Joel is fine….however, your witness is defaming the grace needed by all God’s creation.

    Grace unto you,

    Pastor Danny Breeze

  13. hi! Joel, have you ever considered comparing Judaism and Christianity?

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