Ask Me Anything!


I’ve been hanging around YouTube of late, watching videos and commenting here and there, often on Muslim channels. I am fascinated by the religion and am excited to learn more about it. I’m particularly interested to see how Muslims integrate well established historical and scientific facts with their religion — their worldview. I am continually challenged to do the same with my Christian worldview! My hope is that we can mutually learn from each other.

I’ve had many, many productive chats. Along the way, I’ve managed to draw the ire of some of the channel moderators, who will, from time to time, block my replies from being seen. I can see them when I log in, but if I switch identities, they disappear. With that in mind, plus desiring the ability to format conversations (add diagrams, block quotes, bulleted lists, etc.) I am opening up this thread primarily for my Muslim friends in order to provide a safe, confidential forum that is not subject to censorship from either YouTube or the channel moderators. Continue reading

Atonement in Judaism, Christianity and Islam

For you to learn a lesson, something or someone will have to pay the price and be sacrificed. — Kayo K.

And here, shipmates, is true and faithful repentance; not clamorous for pardon, but grateful for punishment.
— Herman Melville, Moby-Dick or, the Whale

Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow.
— Elvina M. Hall, 1865

I’m in the process of writing the above titled article. I think it will go a long way to compare and contrast the concept of atonement in the three main monotheistic religions. In the meantime, I was at a friend’s house two days ago when I observed a decoration that related to a recent discussion with a Muslim friend @Milo Božovich on a YouTube video about the necessity of believing the Trinity as a requirement for salvation.

As a Christian, my take on soteriology is relatively simple: Man is not saved by his understanding of the theological definition of God, nor by what he does or fails to do (not directly at least), but by whether he has a relationship with Jesus Christ, the Messiah, which provides the motivation for everything he does.

The Crucifixion of the Messiah

Periodically, my Muslim friends will advocate their position that Jesus was not crucified on a cross in Palestine two millennia ago (see here, here and here). They posit that someone may have been crucified, but it had to have been someone else. As further evidence, they say that if Jesus was crucified on a “tree” he would have been cursed by Allah, based on Deuteronomy 21. This is all based on one passage from the Quran…

Continue reading

Freedom Versus Conformity in Islam

I was bantering with my friend @NeoLegendX when he inadvertently brought up a topic that I thought was very interesting. Soon after, comments began to be deleted by either the channel Moderator or YouTube itself. Here’s the context of our conversation:

NeoLegendX: @A Berean any interesting topics you stumbled upon

A Berean: @NeoLegendX Bored?

NeoLegendX: @A Berean corona has us on lockdown
Cmon Braf
You know that
And here I thought we dont need to rehearse

A Berean: @NeoLegendX Some of us “old folk” still get to work, even in lockdown…

Continue reading

How to Avoid Being Herod

And she came in immediately with haste to the king and asked, saying, “I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter.” And the king was exceedingly sorry, but because of his oaths and his guests he did not want to break his word to her. — Mark 6:25–26 ESV

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “I’ve never been even slightly worried about being Herod.” You probably think this post is like one of those infomercials promising to fix problems you never knew you had. Well, except for the $19.99 price tag, maybe it is. But I’m asserting that it’s easier than you think to be Herod. In fact, if you don’t pay attention, like Herod, you might find yourself starring down at a head on a platter in your own life (metaphorically speaking) wondering to yourself, “How could this possibly have happened?”

Wouldn’t we all like to avoid that? Well… here’s how. Continue reading

Imago Dei

Augustus. 27 BC-AD 14. AR Denarius (19mm, 3.7 g). Lugdunum mint. Struck 15 BC

And they sent to him some of the Pharisees and some of the Herodians, to trap him in his talk. And they came and said to him, “Teacher, we know that you are true and do not care about anyone’s opinion. For you are not swayed by appearances, but truly teach the way of God. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not? Should we pay them, or should we not?” But, knowing their hypocrisy, he said to them, “Why put me to the test? Bring me a denarius and let me look at it.” And they brought one. And he said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” They said to him, “Caesar’s.” Jesus said to them, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” And they marveled at him. — Mark 12:13–17 ESV

Here in Mark we see Jesus facing another unannounced pop-quiz. This was the kind of thing that Jesus might as well get used to. This particular question was a concoction of some Pharisees and Herodians, strange bedfellows to be sure. But if the enemy of my enemy is my friend, then I suppose stranger things have happened. Continue reading

Ethnic Humility

And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read. And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written,

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
     because he has anointed me
     to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives
     and recovering of sight to the blind,
     to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. And he began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” — Luke 4:16–21 ESV

Jesus returns to his home town. He’s been gone for a while having relocated to Cana. Relocated is an exaggeration since in reality Jesus had been wandering around Galilee for months. This was after causing a scene in Jerusalem by chasing out temple vendors with a homemade whip. He had even found time to take his disciples through Samaria where the first town he preached in wasn’t even Jewish, at least by Jerusalem standards. Continue reading


Image source

So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.” — John 20:25 ESV

The world is full of skeptics. I know because I’m one of them. I grew up in a Christian home. My parents were good and loving people for which I am always increasingly grateful. Even so, from a very early age I saw the angry, noisy, pettiness of my mother, and the morose, silent, petulance of my father, and concluded (like only an adolescent can do) that hypocrisy was everywhere. I reasoned that if my parents, who in my mind, exemplified good Christians, could behave with such duplicity, then perhaps everything they taught me was suspect, including who and what Jesus was. Continue reading

Straining Gnats and Swallowing Camels

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel!” — Matthew 23:23–24 ESV

From our enlightened twenty-first century vantage point we can look back on the period of history that Jesus lived and cheerfully take our pick of horrors and injustices perpetrated by a host of groups starting with the Romans, Herodeons, Zealots, unjust tax collectors, and numerous other rapscallions and scalawags. They were known for murdering innocents, enslaving the helpless, brutalizing women, and worse yet — they mistreated defenseless animals! Now one would think, with God walking among us, daily exposed to this repressive and brutish world, we would at the very least, expect stern indignation expressed toward these hellish outrages.

But Jesus never overtly deplored slavery, never publicly decried the plight of women, and much to our surprise, never expressed support for animal rights. Continue reading