Monday, March 27, 2006

American-Iranian Christian Church Converts Middle East Muslims

Here's something very odd.

A large photo (which is not available on the internet) appears, at the very top the front cover of this mornings LA Times. It is a portrait of a female Christian Pastor named Nadareh Navai, with a caption that reads:

Nadereh Navai, a pastor at the Iranian Christian Church in Sunyvale, Calif., speaks during a Persian-language service that is transmitted by satellite to Iran and elsewhere in an effort to convert Muslims to Christianity. Most of the church members are former Muslims. Story on B1.

At first, I thought, "Wow, that's good news. I ought to donate money to that church."

But, then I realized there may be some other really great news here, besides just the fact that there is such a church, which doesn't surprise me.

Think about it;

the LA Times thought this was front page news.

Is that, perhaps, a tacit admission that even the editors at the LA Times know that there is something very sick about Islam and that one of the possible ways to fix the problem is for Muslims to convert to Christianity.

Can you imagine the LA Times running a front page article on Christians attempting to convert Tibetan Buddhists, for instance? You know it wouldn't happen.

Anyway, let's look at the article itself:

SUNNYVALE, Calif. — As Afghan officials considered last week whether a medical aid worker should be executed for converting from Islam to Christianity, an alliance of small Christian congregations in the San Francisco Bay Area was working to spread the Gospel to more Muslims in the Middle East.

"We are very proud of that man because he has not denied his Christianity," said Navid Moborez, 29, an Afghan Christian and former Muslim who now lives in Fremont and belongs to the Iranian Christian Church here.

On Sunday, charges against the convert, Abdur Rahman, were dropped. Moborez said he had been praying for Rahman, but he thinks the issue is bigger than the fate of one man.

"If they kill him, they can't stop Christianity from growing, inside or outside of Afghanistan," Moborez said.

Spreading Christianity is the mission of the Iranian Christian Church, which has affiliated with three other congregations in Northern California that primarily serve former Muslims.

The churches, which have a combined membership of about 450, produce six hours of Farsi-language Christian programming Mondays through Fridays in a television studio under the same roof as the Iranian Christian Church. Those broadcasts, as well as the Sunnyvale church's Sunday service, are transmitted by satellite to Iran and other parts of the Middle East.

The weekday program, "Mohabat TV," instructs viewers in such things as how to find the Bible on the Internet and recommends studying Scripture for at least a year before starting a home church by sharing the faith with a spouse, then children, then relatives — all in secret.

Under Sharia, or Islamic law, Muslims who convert to Christianity are considered apostates and can be sentenced to death. Not all predominantly Islamic countries enforce Sharia law.

"We tell them not to shout out, 'I am a Christian!' but to share their testimony, which is a great risk," said Pastor Kamil Navai.Navai hopes that the new converts will influence other Muslims.

"We're not in the business of bringing people from Iran to the United States," he said. "Iran needs these new Christians. We teach them to start home churches and to be leaders.

"The broadcasts are produced by International Antioch Ministries, an umbrella organization for the four churches.

Church officials said the broadcasts cost about $700,000 a year and are funded by donations from individuals and large evangelical groups.

Go read the rest. We should all donate at least $50 to this church. I will be putting this ministry on my monthly donation list for sure. Their work could have world-changing implications.

Here are some thought-provoking ideas from frequent IBA commenter Mustafa Kamel:

Europe can now at this late stage only defend civilisation by ensuring that Muslims are free and encouraged to apostasize from their barbarism.

There are three possible future scenarios for Europe:

(1) Progressive Islamisation ending in Shariah and Dhimmitude for the natives.
(2) Progressive Islamisation ending in a reaction of violent de-Islamisation (and probably a World War as Muslim countries attempt to protect their European co-religionists from the Fourth Reich's 'Final Solution')
(3) Gradual De-Islamisation of Muslims already living in Europe.

Options (1) and (2) are both nightmare scenarios, so that leaves us with (3) as the only way out, no matter how difficult that may be.

Option (3) is indeed difficult, but not impossible. Islam rests on two foundations - (i) The character of Mohammed and (ii) the Koran being the ACTUAL WORD OF GOD (not a human interpretation as liberal Christians view the Bible). If you destroy the foundations, the house of Islam will certainly become wobbly. What you then have to do is give the inhabitants somewhere else to live. Most people aren't (willing) atheists. They need some form of religion.

The trick here will be to design a religion (memetic engineering) which appeals to recovering Muslims. I'm not being sectarian about this, but I would imagine that some form of 'broad-church' Christianity would have more appeal to the ex-Muslim than, say, Wicca or Zen. It's also important to replace the community function of religion which is so important for Muslims. So here are the 4 R's of eradicationg Islam in Europe - Rationalism, Ridicule, Revulsion and Replacement.

RATIONALISM - expose the contradictions, illogicalities, and scientific absurdities within the Koran showing that it can't possibly be the word of God. Also publicise scholarly investigation of the origin of the Koran and strange Pagan features such as meteorite worship.

RIDICULE - Islam, as we have seen, is hypersensitive to satire, especially any jokes against Mo. Islamic beliefs should be made objects of derision and contempt rather than fear. Mohammed himself should be revealed as the murderous pervert that he was. Islam must not be given the respect it so desperately craves.

REVULSION - how many Muslims know the full depths of barbarity and depravity within their religion. eg practices such as mufa’khathat ?

REPLACEMENT - Encourage conversion of Muslims to any other religion. Churches and other organisations who are successful in this dificult task should share their know-how with others. Ex-Muslims should be debriefed to discover what caused them to leave Islam.

The alternative to eradicating the disease would be the Serbian solution of culling the carriers. If we ever get to that stage then European civilisation will hardly be worth saving.

I think the only thing that can save Europe, not just Muslim-Europe, but all of Europe, is a Christian revival.

However, I don't think that is going to come from European Christianity. It could come from African Christianity, or perhaps American Christianity.European Christianity has become a set of formalities with no life to it. That's why Europeans have abaondoned it.

The other day, YARGB writer David Thompson said the following, on the subject of the need for a religion:

I am a theological modernists who perhaps hypocritically believes it best that most people are members of an organized religion. Yes, please do as I say---and not as I personally do. Such behavior is conducive to the raising of a family. More importantly, it is mandatory if one is trying to encourage couples to have large families. Modern, secular families, rightly or wrongly (I don’t wish to engage in a values debate) usually prefer one or two children.

The Old Europeans are desperate. Their indigenous populations are rapidly declining. Will the younger couples of these countries have more children merely because it supposedly is a good idea? I doubt this very much.

There is only one factor which could change their minds: a religious revival. Old Europe needs to be reconverted to its Catholic/ Protestant roots. Heck, I would settle even for a mass conversion to the Mormon Church.

Can anyone offer a counter argument?

What do you guys think?


Always On Watch said...

I love Mustafa's four "R's."

European Christianity (and to a certain extent, American Christianity as well) is into the interfaith dialogue mode. The outcome of such dialogue is most often dhimmitude and a watering-down of the tenets of Christianity, while Islam stands consistent and strong.

Anonymous said...

Hmmmm. I'm European, Spaniard and German. My bet is number 2. Did it once. Covadonga, Simancas, Navas De Tolosa, Granada, Lepanto, Vienna II, Zenta.
Will do it twice. Just have to warm up to it. Won't be nice, mind.
My bet: Germany will suddenly turn around. Like 1815, 1870, and, more nefariously, 1933. Just walk the other way.
And this time, the allies won't help the enemy - they will follow. Anyone a bet?

Dag said...

I put up a post recently on the history of American Revivalism. Shock of shocks, I'm not a Christian in any real sense and still I argue for a Christian revival such as thsoe that swept America in the 19th century. The point of my post is to show that what needs be done has been done before, that this is not some daydream no one has ever thought of before.

Look to the example of John Wesley, writes this long-lapsed Presbyterian, for the future of the West.

The Anti-Jihadist said...

So, Pastorius, is this your way of saying that Islam can't be made 'progressive' or 'moderate'? Can Islam be reformed or not, in your view?

Pastorius said...

I think Islam could be reformed, because, it's just a set of ideas, which can be altered via memes and critique, just as Judaism was and as Chistianity was, to a lesser extent.

However, that doesn't mean I see anyone on the horizon who is willing to do the work.

Christianization is also unlikely to happen, although, as a Christian myself, I believe it can happen. I support Voices of the Martyrs and I support missionaries in China, so if you have any doubt that I believe in evangelism, now you know the answer.

But the thing is, there are over 1 billion Muslims in the world, and I don't know that we have enough time to convert a significant portion of them.

That's why I have thrown my lot in with the Democratization project, believing that it would lead to some sort of new synthesis Islam, as our efforts in WWII led to a new synthesis Japan and Germany.

However, we have not had the courage of our own convictions. And, it looks like we may fail.

I don't know.

I share Mustafa Kamel's concern about a reversion to Fascism. But, like our anonymous commenter noted, it has worked before, and it may very well work again.

I agree with Mustafa that we will be utterly disgusted with ourselves, if that is the road we take, and we may move into a very dark time, in the aftermath. Freedom could be lost forever, for all we know.

What do you think Anti-Jihadist.

Pastorius said...

LOL. A Presbyterian advocating for John Wesley.

I always remember that line from A River Runs Through It where the Presbyterian Minister tells his son that a Methodist is a Baptist who can read.

I agree with you Dag. Europe needs a revival.

Pastorius said...

You are absolutley correct about that interfaith dialogue streak in European Christianity. I was reading The Catechism of the Catholic Church last night and I happened across the secion on "Muslims." I didn't know there would be such a thing in the Catechism.

Anyway, the statement was that Muslims believe in the God of Abraham.

Well, I am sorry, but the Jews and the Christians of our world do not believe in a God who orders the deaths of apostates, homosexuals, and adulterers, and we don't believe in Jihad against non-believers.

The God of such believers is bloodthirsty, and in my opinion, he is in league with the devil himself.

If you take the spiritual world seriously, then you know that the job of Satan is to destroy us. Islam is doing the same thing in every corner of the world it dominates.

Pastorius said...

Thanks, Anna. I'll be sending them money also.

Myra Langerhas said...

Sorry to ask the question, but will publicity of this church lead to prosecution by these Islamists and the execution?

Pastorius said...

These guys are in the U.S.

Does that answer your question, or is there something else I am not considering?

elmers brother said...

We have a Persian church where I live.

Anonymous said...

I, too, read the story about the Iranian Christian Church in the LA Times, and I was struck by the bravery of these people, especially in light of a novel I just read called "By the Sword." This thriller was based on a premise that the Iranian mullahs had decided to take Islam back to its roots through conversation by the sword. Very timely.

Anonymous said...

I am an Iranian who has converted to Christianity; Pastors Nadereh and Kamil Navai have helped me a lot through this path. But I must say, I am EXTREMELY disappointed and angered at what I read here!

First, the way you talk about Islam and Muslims is so prejudiced and close-minded, it's unbearable!... Although I do not believe in the Quran and there are so many things about Islam that angers me, people like you anger me no less and are just as inhumane as Islam is (and actually a lot more inhumane than most Muslims I know are!!). Second, many "Christians" are and have been so unlike Christ, and throughout history, they have done the most cruel and unchristian things one can think of! So what how the "people" act, does NOT necessarily reflect the religion. And third- if there are people like Pastor Nadereh and Pastor Kamil who are trying to help muslims know the truth of Christ and convert, it is NOT to save "Europe" or help prejudiced people like you... It is because they/we believe that Christianity is the Truth and we want more people in this world to be "saved", just as we have been saved.

Pastorius said...

Islam is an evil religion. Sorry. Just because it something you may some sort of cultural affinity for, having grown up with it, does not mean it's ok.

The other day, a poll came out,

wherein they asked Muslims from around the world if they would want to see apostates stoned to death. Most Muslims do want that it turns out.

That is evil, my friend. I'm sorry to tell you. I don't want to hurt your feelings. But, it is evil.

Anonymous said...

It's not that my "feelings are hurt"... It's that I am hurt by all the evil in this world! I NEVER said Islam is NOT evil! What I said is that being prejudiced towards Muslims is evil, too! It is not right to try and answer evil with evil, by being ethnocentric, self-righteous, biased, prejudiced, close-minded, ignorant, and inhumane.

Another thing I was trying to say is, there is a difference between Islam and Muslims... Just as there is a difference between Christianity and most of those who call themselves Christians. So, many, if not most, Muslims are NOT evil! Just as I believe that many so-called Christians are evil (though I believe Christianity, itself, is the Truth).

About the poll- don't believe everything you read! Killing Muslim converts is more of a POLITICAL thing than a religious thing. Have you still not learned that politicians use religion to gain power (whether it's Christianity or Islam)??? Many of my Muslim friends and family know I have converted, and did not want me stoned! In fact, a couple of them are pretty religious, but we have a beautiful relationship filled with love.

There's too much prejudice and hatred in this world, and too much of blaming an entire category of people for the actions of a few! This prejudice and hatred is what will eventually lead us to a World War 3, unless we can stop it.

Pastorius said...

You wrote: being prejudiced towards Muslims is evil, too!

I say: Yes, it is. You are right about that.

So, for my part, when I meet people who identify as Muslims, I do not expect them to be hateful, Jihadist monsters. Instead, I expect/hope they will be ordinary people who love their children and want to contribute to society.

And, when I find that they are not, I simply stay away from them. I don't retaliate in any manner.

And, I don't encourage anyone else to do so either.

You wrote: It is not right to try and answer evil with evil, by being ethnocentric, self-righteous, biased, prejudiced, close-minded, ignorant, and inhumane.

I say: I definitely tend toward being self-righteous. That is a fault of mine. Ethnocentric? No, I don't believe so. This blog has fought specifically and fiercely against ethnocentrism.

You wrote: there is a difference between Islam and Muslims... Just as there is a difference between Christianity and most of those who call themselves Christians

I say: Yep. Christianity and Islam can both be defined by their Holy Books. Beyond that, they can also, in part, be defined by how their adherents behave, and by the types of Civilizations that arise out of their respective Theologies/World Views.

You wrote: About the poll- don't believe everything you read! Killing Muslim converts is more of a POLITICAL thing than a religious thing.

I say: In Islamic doctrine, there is no separation of Mosque and state, so the religious is the political.

You wrote: Many of my Muslim friends and family know I have converted, and did not want me stoned!

I say: Yes, I believe that. They know you as a person, and they love you. However, you must be aware that this is not the case for all Muslims who convert. We have a convert here at IBA, and his family members would kill him if they found out.

Anonymous said...

This is ridiculous, and I feel sorry for you for wasting your time. Your 3 options for how this could play out only narrates your limited and narrow perspective. How about adding PEACEFUL COEXISTENCE to your list, rather than this manipulative scheme that has no hope with Muslims who understand their faith and the peace it brings them. All I can say is shame on you as you're obviously not acting within your own faith principles if you have any.
I have peace, and hope you'll find that too in whatever path you choose, I only hope it will not be a path of spreading hate.
~ Islam E.