Unfold the Evangel before your eyes!

Are you lost?
Are you worn out?
Are you overwhelmed?
Are you rational?

Only rational, non-dogmatic persons can understand and accept this message. Give yourself a try. Nothing will be like before, I promise!

quinta-feira, setembro 14, 2006

Waiting the 12th Imam

By Chuck Missler, from KHouse

[Leia este artigo em português]

"Is there art that is more beautiful, more divine, and more eternal than the art of martyrdom? A nation with martyrdom knows no captivity." - Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, President of Iran, Speaking on the virtues of suicide bombing

Iran's nuclear program has long been the subject of debate. It is viewed by most as one of the greatest threats to international security. Yet some have condemned efforts to stem Iran's nuclear ambitions as hypocritical. One such commentator wrote, "The US government cannot make a reasonable case as to why it's OK for Israel to have a stockpile of nuclear warheads but it's not OK for any other nation in the Middle East to pursue nuclear weapons technology." Such sentiments may seem reasonable to some. However they do not take into account some of the key dynamics behind the Middle East conflict.

Unlike Iran, Israel is not a signatory of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and, as such, technically does not have to abide by nuclear anti-proliferation conventions. Over the past five decades Israel has developed a nuclear-weapons program but has neither denied nor admitted the existence of its nuclear arsenal. Israelis call this policy "strategic ambiguity." Israel is surrounded on all sides by enemies bent on bringing about its destruction. Israel, therefore, developed its nuclear program to serve as a deterrent. Israel's nuclear arsenal is one of the primary reason nations like Iran have not yet succeeded in their plans to wipe Israel "off the map."

Iran is governed by Shiite Muslim clerics committed to a stern interpretation of Islamic law. Hatred of the United States has been a key component of Iranian foreign policy since the 1978 Islamic revolution, and Iran's leaders often refer to the United States as the "Great Satan." Iran's distaste for the United States is surpassed only by their utter loathing of Israel. Iran's political and religious leaders have repeatedly called for Israel's complete destruction.

The State Department calls the Islamic Republic of Iran the world's "most active state sponsor of terrorism." Iran continues to provide funding, weapons, training, and sanctuary to numerous terrorist groups based in the Middle East and elsewhere. Iran mostly backs Islamist groups, including the Lebanese Shiite militants of Hezbollah (which Iran helped found in the 1980s) and such Palestinian terrorist groups as Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Iran uses such groups to carry out a proxy war on Israel and the West. It is therefore folly to allow Iran, and consequently its terrorist allies, to obtain nuclear technology.

The Dark Horse

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was elected in June of 2005 with more than 60 percent of the vote. He is Iran's sixth president since the 1979 revolution. He ran on a populist economic platform and beat former president Hashemi Rafsanjani - who was hugely wealthy and purportedly very corrupt. Unlike Rafsanjani, Ahmadinejad appealed to the people. He is seen as an honest and simple man. According to reports, he lives so modestly that his personal assets include only a 30-year-old car, an even older house, and an empty bank account. Ahmadinejad projects the image of a humble and devout man. He is motivated, not by wealth or power, but by his conservative Islamic ideals.

Ahmadinejad is a controversial figure in the international community, but he has the support of the Iranian people and the backing of Supreme Leader Ali Ayatollah Khamenei. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad graduated from college with a degree in civil engineering and joined the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps during the Iran-Iraq war. During the 1979 Islamic Revolution, Ahmadinejad was a member of the radical student group that took control of the US embassy. Ahmadinejad reportedly played a central role in the hostage crisis, which included interrogating captives.

Prior to running for president, Ahmadinejad was the mayor of Tehran, Iran's capitol city. He was appointed mayor in the spring of 2003 by the city council. Before becoming mayor, Ahmadinejad was a relatively unknown figure in Iranian politics. In fact, the city council members that appointed him came to power in an election that could only boast of a 12 percent voter turnout.

The Return of the 12th Imam

When Ahmadinejad addressed the United Nations General Assembly in October of 2005, he ended his speech with a prayer imploring God to hasten the return of the 12th Imam. Ahmadinejad refers to the return of the 12th Imam, also known as the Mahdi, in almost all his major speeches. In the Islamic faith, the Mahdi is the ultimate savior of mankind. His appearance will usher in an era of Islamic justice and bring about the conversion of the heathen amidst flame and fire. The Mahdi will establish Islam as the global religion and will reign for seven years before bringing about the end of the world.

In a speech last November, Ahmadinejad is quoted as saying: "Our revolution's main mission is to pave the way for the reappearance of the 12th Imam, the Mahdi. Therefore, Iran should become a powerful, developed and model Islamic society. Today, we should define our economic, cultural and political policies based on the policy of Imam Mahdi's return. We should avoid copying the West's policies and systems."

The beliefs of Sunni and Shiite Muslims differ on the identity of the Mahdi. Sunnis either believe that he is yet to be born, or that he was born recently and has yet to emerge. Shiites hold that the Mahdi is Muhammad ibn Hasan, a descendant of the Prophet Muhammad born in the 9th century and the 12th and final Shiite Imam. As a devout Shiite, Ahmadinejad believes that the 12th Imam was hidden away by Allah at a young age and will someday emerge to bring justice and peace by establishing Islam throughout the world. After taking office Ahmadinejad allocated $20 million for the expansion of the Jamkaran mosque, a religious pilgrimage site where Shiites can drop messages to the "Hidden Imam" in a holy well.

Ahmadinejad ardently believes in the imminent return of 12th Imam, which he anticipates will happen in the next two years. He believes he has a personal role in ushering in the return of the Mahdi and is preparing Iran for Judgment Day. Understanding this perspective is vital to understanding the Iranian threat.

Chance or Intelligent Design ? (part 1)

By James Andrew Choury, serving with WorldVenture in North Brazil September, 2005

[Leia este artigo em português]

Logic and Mathematics. What have these disciplines to do with evidence of God’s existence?

The Law of the Non Contradiction is a fundamental law of logic. The law states that a proposition and its contradictory can never both be true. In symbols we write [ ~ (A & -A)] where the & symbol means that both A and ~A are true and the tilde (~) means “not”. This phrase is logically equivalent to (A v ~ A) which tells us that one or the other (A or ~A) must be true without exceptions (this by the way is called the Law of the Excluded Middle). In short, the Law of Non Contradiction tells us that a proposition and its contradictory are never both true and the Law of the Excluded Middle tells us that one of them must be true. A more classical way of describing contradictories is that one is the negation of the other and they cannot both be true and they cannot both be false. Logical conversation about any subject must observe these basic laws of deduction.

Examples of the Law of Non Contradiction/Law of the Excluded Middle: *

This table is rectangular or this table is not rectangular.
Two plus two is four or two plus two is not four.
The Bible was inspired by God or the Bible was not inspired by God.
Christ rose from the dead or Christ did not rise from the dead.
My name is James or my name is not James.

In order to more fully understand this important concept let’s imagine a typical closet. We will very likely find shoes, shirts, trousers, umbrellas, coats, hats, baseball bats, gloves, table games on the shelves and many other odds and ends. Let’s have the closet represent any given collection of things. We can go through the closet and sort out everything in it. We can divide everything into two categories, say shoes and not shoes. In another sorting we can do trousers and not trousers. Stuff to throw out and stuff not to throw out. In any given sorting everything in the closet will fall into one of two categories. In every case we will end up with two piles (one pile may not have anything in it and that, in mathematics, is called the empty set). That is what the Law of the Excluded Middle tells us. Nothing will be both a shoe and not a shoe. Every item will be either a shoe or not a shoe.

Of course we must first define our terms and eliminate any ambiguities. But, when all has been clarified, any rational conversation must recognize and respect the Laws of the Excluded Middle and Non Contradiction. Let’s always remember that it is impossible for a proposition and its contradictory to both be true. It is logically necessary that either a proposition or its contradictory be true, i.e., one of them must be true!

Still unconvinced? Try to disprove the Law. Think of any collection of things (in mathematics called a set) and try to come up with something within the set that is both X and not X where X is some unambiguous quality or quantity. Don’t forget that X must be defined unambiguously.

More examples:

The set of all animals can be sorted into mammals and non-mammals.
The set of all vehicles can be sorted into front wheel drive and not front wheel drive vehicles.
The set of all athletes can be sorted into Olympic Gold Medal winners and not Olympic Gold Medal winners.
The set called “furniture” can be sorted into chairs and non chairs.
The set of all beings can be sorted into the categories of divine and not divine.

Remember that a very important part of logical debate and conversation is clear definition. When things are clearly defined we will never find a case where a proposition and its contradictory are both true. We will always find that one of them must be true.

* Aristotle correctly codified these basic laws of deduction together with the Law of Identity and for well over a thousand years they were believed to be the fundamental “laws of thought”. With the development of modern symbolic logic one plainly sees that these three statements are logically equivalent and express the same truth in three different ways. Although they may not deserve the elevated position attributed to them by the ancients they are very definitely inescapable and true.

Note: Some objections have been raised asserting that the Law of the Excluded Middle makes everything either black or white. This is a misunderstanding of the Law. The Law of the Excluded middle actually makes everything either black or not black, round or not round, tall or not tall, etc. when, of course, these terms are well defined.


1. See if you can formulate the Law of Identity for yourself or do some research and find it formulated.
2. Come up with five more examples of the Law of the Excluded Middle.
3. Define the following items or concepts leaving as little ambiguity as possible:
A. a tree
B. a book
C. a box
D. imperialism
E. rectangular
4. Check your definition against that of a good dictionary. How did you do? How did the dictionary do?