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Some Reasons Why Islam is Winning.

By Paul Merkley.


I can say categorically that there never was a moment in my life when I could detect anything appealing in Islam.

To begin with,  I am far too respectful of the positive accomplishments of our civilization to be tempted by “orientalism” in all of its forms. The manly accomplishments as well as the thoughts of Lawrence of Arabia are wasted on me. But as for the substance: Muslims seek to change our minds about the allegiances that we might have inherited from four  two thousand years of the history of Christianity by directing our attention to Islam’s sacred history – which, quite apart from being 3400 years shorter, has to me the aesthetic appeal of desiccated fruit.

According to Islamic teaching, “God created man from clot of blood. “Surah 96. How did blood get onto the scene of human history before or any  part of the animal creation did? Whose blood, then?

There is an Islamic answer to this and other mysteries. It is: Shut up!   

Consider that, by contrast, for several centuries radical criticism of our own sacred texts has taken place, not only in our academic world and in our general culture but perhaps most aggressively in our theological seminaries.  A Christian intellectual knows that his faith has been fully examined — inside-out and upside-down  – not  always with profit, but certainly exhaustively — by all branches of scholarship. That it seems to lack appeal among intellectuals today is owing to the shallowness and frivolity of secular scholarship.

In Islam, the merest gesture towards  criticizing a text or doubting a truth allegedly based upon a text puts the questioner at immediate liability to death at the hand of the nearest male member of family. This duty is mandated by Islamic scripture.

( sheikyermami.com/apostasy-whoever-changes-his-islamic-religion-kill-him’;www.thereligionofpeace.com/pages/quran/apostasy.aspx/)

It is true that many young people in our part of the world are converting from Judaism and Christianity to Islam, Still, this is not happening at the  rate that young people all around the world are turning from traditional faith systems to Christianity. (According to one scholarly source, “since the 1960s, there has been a substantial increase in the number of known conversions from Islam to Christianity. Most of these conversions have been to forms of evangelical or Pentecostal Christianity Duane Alexander Miller. “Believers in Christ from a Muslim Background: A Global Census, St.  Mary’s University San Antonio, Texas. WEC International Singapore Abstract.)

Behind each defection from Christianity in our part of the world is usually a story of parental failure and\or the success of our now aggressively-atheist school systems. It is rarely impelled by philosophy.

The record of history, as well as contemporary political reality, bears out the fact that the religion of Islam offers no materials out of which stable society can be built. The famous Nineteenth Century French philosopher and Sociologist, Alexis de Tocqueville (1805 – 1859) saw this clearly:

I studied the Quran a great deal. I came away from that study with the conviction that by and large there have been few religions in the world as deadly to men as that of Muhammad. As far as I can see, it is the principal cause of the decadence so visible today in the Muslim world and, though less absurd than the polytheism of old, its social and political tendencies are in my opinion more to be feared, and I therefore regard it as a form of decadence rather than a form of progress in relation to paganism itself

Winston Churchill’s bloody-minded judgment on Islam, formed in his youth as a soldier in India and Sudan, is frequently quoted:

Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy. The effects are apparent in many countries. Improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce, and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the Prophet rule or live. A degraded sensualism deprives this life of its grace and refinement; the next of its dignity and sanctity.

Our contemporary, Robert Redeker, an academic philosopher who writes for Le Figaro, brings this indictment up to date:

A merciless war chief, plunderer, slaughterer of Jews and a polygamists, such is the man revealed through the Koran… The stoning of Satan, each year at Mecca, is not just a superstitious phenomenon… Here in effect is a rite, which each Muslim is invited to submit himself to, emphasizing violence as a sacred duty in the heart of the believer. This stoning, annually accompanied with deaths by trampling of the faithful, sometimes in several hundreds, is a ritual which nurtures archaic violence…

(As it happens, I write this on the day when the  hajj begins in Mecca, and when authorities are predicting the probability of hundreds of deaths though the crushing effect of these exalted crowds. (https://www.dailystar.co.uk/news/latest-news/724211/Hajj-pilgrimage-Mecca-Medina-Saudi-Arabia.)

Islam is a religion which, even in its sacred text, as well as in its banal rites, exalts violence and hate. Hate and violence inhabit the book with which each Muslim is educated, the Koran. (Robert Redeker, “Face aux intimidations islamistes, que doit faire le monde libre?”, Le Figaro, september 2006.)

Not surprisingly, death threats poured down upon this man for these words, and he was forced into hiding under police protection. “The West is under ideological surveillance by Islam,” Redeker concluded. “I have the impression that I’ve been drafted against my will into a conflict from the 17th or 18th century. It’s all about opposing religious intolerance.”

As so often, Mark Twain gets to the heart of the matter:

That is a simple rule, and easy to remember. When I, a thoughtful and unblessed Presbyterian, examine the Koran, I know that beyond any question every Mohammedan is insane; not in all things, but in religious matters.

But returning to my opening thought: why does this embarrassingly barbaric teaching appeal to so many young people?

The question answers itself! It is because it is barbaric. We live in an age in which all moral advantage belongs to those who most viciously attack received faith in any and all its forms. This is increasingly an age of barbarism. The news-media , the journals of opinion, the universities – and even increasingly the pulpits – are commanded by barbaric souls – that is, souls who are self-consciously aware of themselves as in revolt against received culture and tradition. The most barbaric of these barbarians, having captured the castles of elite opinion, are now finding sustenance for their barbaric suppression of thought in the mindless pages of the Qur’an.




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‘THEY BURNT OUR TREES. Let’s plant even more….”

By Paul Merkley.


The organization United with Israel  is putting out an appeal for funds based on this message:

Thousands of trees have been destroyed from devastating kite and balloon fires sent from Gaza. Now more than ever, Israeli farmers need your help… so that they can buy over 20 kinds of fruit trees to replace the thousands of trees that have been destroyed from devastating kite and balloon fires sent from Gaza Together, let’s plant many more trees than were destroyed.

Bring them on, this says to the terrorist-arsonists. Just keep on burning. As you do so, we will go on for ever, on a matching basis, buying and planting and buying and planting. Singing in the rain until the end of time…

Am I alone in thinking this is madness?

Apart from other more complicated considerations: does it not occur to these people that a planted tree does not replace a mature tree immediately.?

United With Israel describes itself as a “Jewish organization, open and welcoming to all people, Jewish and non-Jewish, regardless of race, religion or region… a global, grassroots movement comprised of individuals who are deeply committed to the success and prosperity of Israel.”

It is also, apparently, an organization that imagines that zealous contributors are as countless as the sand:  they stand ready to respond with zeal  to the challenge of replacing any and all of the trees that the enemy, in his madness,  decides he must destroy – from now until doomsday. “They burn. We will plant more, is the motto that they recommend.

Perhaps we need to take a deep breath ad think back to how we got to this point.

First we must reflect on how Gaza became  the fully-owned fiefdom of one of the darkest of all that host of dark Islamist gangs whose names only a tiny group of security experts know but whose numbers are growing daily.

Try counting back  twenty-five years or three and one-quarter Presidents to September 13, 1993, when President Bill Clinton  held a fabulous reception for three thousand guests on the White House Lawn — witnessed on television by virtually all of the grown-ups in the world. The entire Congress (both houses), the Supreme Court, the Cabinet, the entire diplomatic corps and several hundred other dignitaries were also there to be seen, enjoying the champagne and canapés on the American taxpayers’ dime. On this occasion, the Prime Minister of Israel, Yitzhak Rabin, and Yasir Arafat, the head of the Palestine liberation Organization, each declared his commitment to “the Peace Process.”

What followed upon that festive reception is a long story: the simple version is that Israel, coaxed at every step by the American President and his State Department, began at once giving over to Arafat’s gangster regime custody of more and more of the land painfully acquired by Israel in the wake of several failed invasions of its sovereignty by armies of the Arab world. The concessions  inevitably made Israel, more vulnerable to terrorism. The Palestinian side has conceded nothing but taken everything that the U.S and the United Nations  could dream up to give away.

Early in this process, Israel invited Yasir Arafat, the exiled Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization to “return”, at first to Jericho, and then to Ramallah, in order to preside over the Palestine Authority — pending conclusion of  diplomacy between Israel and Arafat’s organization over a few matters that needed agreement before sovereignty was ceded over Arab “Palestine.”

But from the moment when he set foot on the ground of “sacred Palestine” Arafat made it clear that he had no intention of living at peace with the People of Israel and that he would not release his followers from their sacred duty of ceaseless warfare to the death against Jews until every inch of what we have called Israel now for seventy years should be incorporated into the Muslim world.

The PLO has turned the “Palestinian” educational system into a propaganda machine dedicated to preparing subsequent  generations of local children into regimented, anthem-singing uniformed robots – along Hitlerian lines.

Like every other Arab ruler in a comparable situation – a virtual dictator in a one-party-State — Arafat, and then Mahmoud Abbas, failed so completely at governing the Palestine Authority” that, after several seasons of brutal inter-party conflict, Abbas went to his corner while a new champion took over the other corner and “Arab Palestine”  broke in two. The new contender was Ismail Haniyeh, the leader of  Hamas, a terrorist organization beloved by the masses of Palestinian people.

Without doubt, Gaza is today on the very short list of places in the world where none of us would want to find himself. It is an Islamic theocracy, a dictatorship sustained by fear of eternally-active consequences, where governmental thugs enforce (selectively)  Islamic notions of good behavior.  Think of Yemen or Central African Republic or Somalia. Think of at least twenty other Muslim polities in the Arab world today. What they all have in common is their incapacity to govern. The appearance of government is achieved through extorted acquiescence of the masses. Like the leaders of all these other Arab-Muslim states – and like Mahmoud Abbas, the leader of Arab Palestine and the leader of Fatah —  Gaza’s leaders wallow in billions of dollars of undeclared personal wealth, acquired over the years by ruinous taxation and extortion, (See “Gaza’s Millionaires and Billionaires,” www.algemeiner.com, July 28, 2014; http://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/134537/lifestyles-rich-and…Lifestyles of the Rich and Infamous. … Mahmoud Abbas ) while holding out the begging bowl on behalf of their “oppressed citizens”- “oppressed,” that is by Israel, which has not an iota of legal responsibility for the care and feeding of the people of Gaza.

Ismail Haniyeh, the head of the government of Gaza and the head, of course,  of Hamas has the Jewish state next door to blame for everything that his regime is too incompetent or too indifferent to achieve. Judgment of the character of that Jewish state is a matter left to the most prestigious of Muslim clerics. A representative voice is that of Sheikh Ibrahim  Mujdeiris, the Imam of the al-Aqsa  Mosque, a paid appointee of the Palestine Authrhoity, who reminds his flock:

We have ruled the world before, and by Allah, the day will come when we will rule the entire world again. The day will come when we will rule America. The day will come when we will rule Britain and the entire world – except for the Jews. .. Listen to the Prophet Muhammad, who tells you about the evil end that awaits Jews … . And the day of resurrection will not come without the victory of the believers [the Moslems] over the descendents of the monkeys and pigs [the Jews] and with their annihilation.

To the Muslim-Arab population of Gaza, living in expectation of this ultimate War to End All Jews of which the Prophet speaks, Ismail Haniyeh looks like being the man of that hour. Since  April, the gangs of  Hamas, operating at all times within camera range of the  BBC, have been spilling  out of Gaza to set fire to the length and breadth of Israel. Kites and balloons carrying containers of burning fuel and several kinds of explosive devices have sparked several hundred fires in southern Israel, burning more than 2,600 hectares  of Israel’s limited, precious  forest and farmland and causing hundreds of thousands of dollars of damage.

Today, after several weeks of being jerked about by Haniyeh and his theologically-driven pyromaniacs, Prime Minister Netanyahu  is speaking of ”using a “heavy hand” against Hamas.

Let’s hope that Netanyahu uses that heavy hand soon for the purpose of toppling this monster.

The worst possible plan is that recommended by Friends of Israel. Their call for a no-holds-barred contest between planters and killers of trees sounds as heroic as all-get-out. But it concedes all freedom of action to the forces of darkness while consigning the forces of light  forever  to rushing about with fire-hoses. in the desperate hope of keeping ahead of the great conflagration.

The secret to the Hamas strategy is their contempt for the lives of their enraged masses. We see it over and over again. Totally defenseless zealots dashing out into the Israel defensive forces, seeking the bliss of entering heaven before the sun sets. We cannot reason with this demonic mindset. But we have an obligation to keep our own spirits under rational and ethical control.

United With Israel is promoting the idea of challenging THEM to a contest with US. You go one burning and we will go on planting. This is mindless—a surrender of everything moral so that we can enter into the kind of game that children are playing out today in schoolyards.


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By Paul Merkley.


One giant clue to the future of us all is bound up in the accredited fact that the world’s Muslim population is growing  twice as rapidly as its non-Muslim population.

History presents many examples of a Muslim minority growing to become a majority within the same boundaries. A current case is Nigeria. With a population of just under two hundred million, it is   the largest country in Africa, and is in fact the seventh largest country by population in the world. Also, according to the Pew Research Center, Nigeria, with more than 80 million Christians, has the largest Christian population on the African continent. Now, set that statistic  side by-side-wide wit this one: “there were more recorded killings of Christians due to their faith in northern Nigeria in 2015 than in the rest of the world put together.” Thus we see a real statistical possibility that Nigeria will become a Muslim nation by 2050 and the method by which that will be accomplished will be the method recommended by Muhammad and adopted by his followers on the day after Muhammad died: conversion by violent force and the menace of death by the sword.

Yes, there is the sword. And there is the cradle. Globally, Muslims have the highest fertility rate: an average of 3.1 children per woman—well above replacement level (2.1.) Globally again, Christians are second in this matter, at 2.7 children per woman. The global average for all groups distinguished by the population experts is 2.5. Groups having fertility levels lower than this number will require converts to sustain their present numbers.

The fastest-growing religions today are Islam (1.8% per annum, from a very large base), Baha’I (1.7%, from a very small base), Sikhism, Jainism, and Hinduism (all about 1.5%, from a  very large base), and Christianity (1.3%, from a base calculated to include nearly 1\3 of the world’s population.) Thus, while the reproductive rate of Muslims is increasing, the reproductive rate of Christians and all others is declining.

Two scholarly predictions in particular might be noticed: If current trends continue, by 2050 the number of Muslims will nearly equal the number of Christians around the world, while in Europe, Muslims will make up 10% of the overall population. In the United States, Muslims will be more numerous in the U.S. than people who identify as Jewish on the basis of religion (the group presently reckoned as belonging to the largest non-Christian religion.)

There were approximately 19 million Muslims in the European Union in 2010 (about 3.8%). This number is increasing, owing to immigration and higher birth rates. Muslim women today have an average of 2.2 children compared to an estimated average of 1.5 children for non-Muslim women in Europe. At this rate,

Muslims will make up more than 10% of the total population in 10 European countries including Russia (14.4%), France (10.3%) and Belgium (10.2%).

Both In Britain and in France, conversions of nominal Christians to Islam  have doubled in the past quarter century. At the same time, it is equally important to notice that the best studies estimate that significantly more people have converted from Islam to Christianity in the 21st century than at any other point in Islamic history, while the numbers of those who have moved from Islam to “no religion” are also increasing.

In Europe, the debate over immigration has caused drastic reduction of voter support for all of the political parties which participated in the Governments of Europe that welcomed the mass migration of 2011 and following. New “Populist” – that is, anti –Immigrant –parties are now participating in government.

The fantasy of “liberal” or “progressive” Islam, inspired by the Arab Spring of 2011, has dissolved, without a trace, while the menace of Islamic terrorism has been repeatedly validated. Young men have sworn allegiance to the country that has welcomed them and even given them citizenship and have then left the country to pick up training in terror in North Africa or the Middle East – and have then returned and left again and returned again without hindrance.

At the same time, politics in Central Europe, where attitudes towards immigration were already hostile four years ago, has confirmed in power the politicians who stood against “liberalizing” immigration so that Eastern Europe could be seen as matching in “humanity” Western Europe.


East European people are being criticized by more “progressive” Western nations for not wanting to take in Muslim refugees. Chief among them is Hungary, where recent politics has been dominated by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán.  Because he stands publicly for the  policy of restricting immigration of Muslims to Hungary – and because he does so in the name of “preserving  its Christian identity,” Orbán  is tarred as “xenophobic.”

According to  Prime Minister Orbán:

We do not like the consequences of having a large number of Muslim communities that we see in other countries, and I do not see any reason for anyone else to force us to create ways of living together in Hungary that we do not want to see….

Orbán makes frequent reference to Islam’s fateful conquest and occupation of Hungary from 1541 to 1699.  Then, Islamic triumphalism and persecution of Christians were the order of the day.

Our Western editorialists are vague about this story. In an article titled “Hungary has been shamed by Viktor Orbán’s government,” the Guardian mocks and trivializes the prime minister’s position:

The Ottoman empire is striking back, [Orbán] warns. They’re taking over! Hungary will never be the same again!

The Washington Post acknowledges that Hungary was occupied by the Ottomans, way back when, but ponders: “it’s somewhat bizarre to think this rather distant past of warlords and rival empires ought to influence how a 21st century nation addresses the needs of refugees.”

It is not edifying to notice how ruthlessly currently- eminent commentators in our midst dismiss appeal to History – not only in the present case but as a general rule. This contempt for history is the largest factor explaining the incompetence of the minds who dominate our media.

Of course, it matters that Central Europe and much of Eastern Europe and the Slavic world were once conquered by Islam, and for the most part, were enslaved by that religion for several centuries until their native rulers rallied the people whom they ruled behind promise of restoring Christianity to their daily lives and drove Islam out of Europe—hopefully for ever.

As for the canard that Orbán is a closet anti –Semite, the best  rejoinder is  Orban’s address to the World Jewish Congress Orbán  opening address to the World Jewish Congress earlier this year.  http://www.mfa.gov.hu /World+Jewish+Congress.]

Is it truly alarmist, as our media masters claim, to speak of Islam’s slow march to majority position in our part of the world?

Fr. Daniel Byantoro, an Indonesian convert to Christianity, has summed up for Western readers the story of Islam’s place in the history of Indonesia.

For thousands of years my country (Indonesia) was a Hindu Buddhist kingdom.  The last Hindu king was kind enough to give a tax exempt property for the first Muslim missionary to live and to preach his religion. Slowly the followers of the new religion were growing, and after they became so strong the kingdom was attacked, those who refused to become Muslims had to flee for their life… Slowly from the Hindu Buddhist Kingdom, Indonesia became the largest Islamic country in the world. If there is any lesson to be learnt by Americans at all, the history of my country is worth pondering upon.


The underlying reality behind this trahison des clercs is that our elites long ago turned their backs on Christianity and Judaism  faith. Reference to the historical faith has been expunged from the curriculum – except for stories illustrating our persecution of aboriginal peoples and our liquidation of the ancient wisdom of aboriginal people. This multi-generational policy has laid the foundation of contempt for Christian heritage


Hundreds of thousands of refugees are in flight today from the historical and present ravages of Islam. They are the latest victims of Islam’s incapability to provide the bases for decent civil government. No one ever asks: Why is such traffic one-way? Why are there never masses of Americans, Brits, Europeans flooding into the countries of the East?

It is the incompetence of Islam that explains the flight of Muslim masses from Africa and from Middle East–   and which, incidentally, creates the opportunity for expressions of philanthropic concern that are concocted without reference to the fact of Islam’s incompetence.

Before ISIS had been purged from Iraq, Iraq had lost 80-90% of its Christian population. The city of Baghdad, which had held 600,000 Christians about a century ago, now held only 150,000.

Many ancient Christian churches as well as hundreds of Christian homes had been razed in Mosul, previously an area of major Christian concentration. None of the persons and organizations whom these Christians had hoped to hear express outrage at their condition uttered a peep. In large part, this is because our governments and other authorities, not wishing to appear unaware of the great crime of colonialism, had bought into the canard that churches in then East are the products of missionaries. Of course, they are not! in fact, most of the Eastern churches were in place at least a millennium before the Protestant Reformation happened.

Syriac Orthodox Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem II – a priest of one of those indigenous Eastern Churches – says now that there is a “real danger” that Christianity could just become a “museum” in the Middle East.

Only the Government of Hungary, among all the governments of Europe, has committed itself to action for the salvation of Iraqi Christianity from genocide. This it has done by opening a school for displaced Christians in Erbil, Hungary’s Minister of Human Resources, Zoltan Balog, attended the event.

This act provides a powerful clue to what makes Hungary’s official behavior so different from that of other European governments. And that, in turn, provides a power clue to why  Hungary is so routinely despised by our opinion elites.





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By Paul Merkley.


One day in the early Spring of 1979 there appeared an item on the Department of History of Carleton University bulletin board (just a few steps down from my splendid and spacious office), drawing attention to a forthcoming teaching exchange, open to my University and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Just imagine! Me and Gwen and our four children living in Jerusalem, our accommodation paid for by the Canadian Friends of the Hebrew University – in exchange for a little lecturing on favorite topics!

It came completely out of the blue!  Gwen signed on after minimal discussion, and the children, ranging from six years old to 18, seemed keen – or at least, they pretended to be. Gwen quickly set to the herculean effort of getting six of us packed and organized. Each of us would be allowed one suitcase, for six months! If we forget Amy’s stuffed animal toy (Sylvester) it would be the end of the world. We would have to find  an English or French-language school in Jerusalem that was open to a Canadian child at Grade One level. We would have to get passports and medical records for all six of us. If we failed to get Michele enrolled as an exchange student at Hebrew University; if we could not work out the procedure for Sharon and for Bob to fulfil in Jerusalem the requirements for their High School year here at home — it would all fall apart.

I had originally assumed that there would be many candidates, and that my candidacy would likely be the least attractive to the Canadian Friends of the Hebrew University. But already the chilly effect of anti-Zionism was closing down reason in  all of the professional organizations and the chattering class, so that the thought of living in the Jewish State had little lustre – I mean, in comparison with Italy or Spain or Germany. Non-Jewish candidates like ourselves were a special rarity.

In fact, all four of my children, as well as their mother, came away from our semester in Jerusalem with at least a rudimentary  understanding of the Jewish legacy and a strong commitment to honoring the Jewish people.

Years later, I learned that the field of contestants for that exchange visit in 1980 came down to me! The low prestige of Zionism among academics was already being born out by hassles that take place, year after year, in the various professional and academic associations, where Resolutions of denunciation of Israel for its alleged ongoing crimes against the “Palestinian people” and measures intended to make sure that the members of the various associations never have to break bread with visiting Israelis.

Seeking the company of Zionists is considered very poor form by those who provide direction in the company of academics and intellectuals today. Back in the days of my active teaching at Carleton University, I would make my way every day past an array of fierce anti-Zionist propaganda, contributed by the Student Council and affiliated Arab and Muslim advocacy groups. I cannot say that my vocal Zionism has de-railed my career. But it certainly has not helped it.

As for me, that semester began forty years of steadily deepening commitment to the study of Judaism and the History of the Jews.  I have subsequently undertaken ten trips in all back to Israel – mainly to the visit the Central Zionist Archives. Three scholarly-academic books eventually came out of this research.

All of this immersion and re-immersion  in the History of Israel and in the present State of Israel has simultaneously strengthened my Christian faith. It led me, about two decades after my initial visit, to active membership in the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem, which  vigorously advocates on behalf of Israel in the churches. Meanwhile the leaders of the so-called called “mainline” churches have been slipping deeper and deeper into pro- “Palestinian ” advocacy – a hegira that inevitably undoes the commitment to history, to theology and  to truth.

Immersion in the History of Israel should not be undertaken lightly. It is extremely difficult to concentrate the minds of European and American and Canadian and British historians on the simple but powerful fact of the immensity of the History of Zion. There are, for example,  roughly three-and-a-half-millennia more History packed into the History of Israel than there is in the distinguished History from which Canada emerges!

We Christians cannot hope to understand the Jewish identity unless we at least make an effort to sort out the story of the Ancient Egyptians, the Ancient Akkadians, the Ancient Assyrians, the Babylonians, the Greeks and the Romans,  as well as a succession of Islamic Empires and the British Empire.

And then there is the story of the Creation of the State of Israel, Seventy Years Ago this May.

Quite apart from this matter of the longevity of the record of Israel, there is the simple fact that the History of Zionism carries us right down to the present day. It is full to bursting of the biographies of incredibly heroic men who  committed their entire lives to a cause that was generally regarded as hopeless in their own time. I think of Theodor Herzl, who said of his commitment in 1897 to the impossible programme of Zionism: “He who wants to be right in thirty years must be thought crazy for the first two weeks.” And I think of Chaim Weizmann, and David Ben Gurion and the other giants who dominate Israel’s public life in our own time. Heroism on the scale of that which each and every one of these contributed to their Cause is rare at any time and is virtually extinct today – as far as I can see. For this reason alone, I recommend the study of the lives of the major Zionist figures.

The story leading to the establishment of the modern State of Israel is a bright line running through all of recorded History for the last three millennia and more. An understanding of the roots of Zionism takes serious scholars back to Biblical times, when the Jewish people slowly got used to the idea of being a distinct people, separated by God for a particular purpose.

Zionism is the word that correctly describes the process that brought Israel back to existence as a nation in 1948 after many centuries of diaspora. Zionism is the correct word for the spirit of loyalty that has sustained her ever since, despite her patently impossible situation, surrounded by an utterly hostile world which Jews are not permitted to enter.

Working on the story of Zionism is not a matter for the faint of heart. “Zionism” is there in the earlies books of tanaach – Hebrew Scripture. It is the force that gives meaning to the disjointed troubles of the Patriarchs. It is the Cause to which the LORD calls David and the Prophets. It sustained the People of God thereafter through three millennia of challenges. And in my own lifetime it has issued in the re-establishment of the People of Israel in eretz Israel – where their history began.




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By Paul Merkley.


Two recent news items shed light upon the present state of prestige of the Christian faith in   our part of the world.

The first is an item about an ice cream company in Toronto and the part it is playing in the long-standing public campaign to deprive Christian faith of all dignity so that people can feel free to dismiss it altogether.

The second is a news item about the recent death and the solemn all-hands-on funeral at Cambridge’s   prestigious Cathedral of a greatly-admired man who publicly proclaimed contempt for Christian faith.

Some Things Are Not Funny.

NEWS ITEM: “Sweet Jesus ice cream parlour faces

backlash over name,” Toronto Star, March 25, 2018.

Powerful proof of the low estate to which the symbols belonging to Christian faith have fallen is the story of a Toronto of ice-cream company with many branches which calls itself Sweet Jesus For Life www.sweetjesus4life.com. This outfit has come to life so swiftly that nobody seems to have seen it coming, and so the  fact that there  is now a very large petition campaign to get it to cease and desist from its blasphemy has only just caught up to Toronto’s news media.

Everything about this controversy calls out the instinct for frivolity that lies close to the surface in every mind whose thinking-processes have been  flushed away by constant commercial advertizing. In some of the advertising of the Sweet Jesus Ice Cream company we find the familiar scene of a nativity in a manger — with an ice cream cone in the place of the Infant Jesus.

Some thoughtful people are calling upon Christians to “boycott” the Sweet Jesus Ice Cream parlour and its products company https://lifepetitions.com/petition/blasphemous-sweet-jesus-ice-cream. A worthy course of action, but can we not agree that calling upon Christians to “boycott” is superfluous? Any alert Christian will recognize that just to walk up to the counter and utter the name on that menu is gross blasphemy.

What is truly distressing is that the makers of this product are calculating that the number of people who despise Christian faith so greatly outnumber those who cling to it, that getting a giggle out of Christ is a financial winner.  Who can say that they are wrong? But the thought does occur: would they dare put the name of Prophet Muhammad in place of Baby Jesus? They would be dead before sundown.

Open mockery of my faith, the declared but nominal faith of a majority of Canadians, is a proven winner in the marketplace.  In recent interviews, the morons who own the Sweet Jesus Ice company claim that it could not occur to anyone that blasphemy is mockery and that a price should be paid for mocking the name of Jesus in this knuckle-dragging public way. These mockers know that it is hate speech and likewise know that nobody cares. We have  got to the point where getting a giggle out of the baby Jesus will promote sales.

Asking Christians to boycott this blasphemous commerce should be a no-brainer. The mere act of standing up to the counter and asking for this product requires standing with the mockers of Christ – just for the sake of an ice-cream treat.  Has it really come to this?


The Death of A Champion of Atheism.

But then – if nobody cares anymore about what is said and done with the elements of our faith, why is it that people revert to the repertoire of Christian faith and approach the professional  clergy for their services and for the use of their buildings when it comes time to bury atheists?

This thought occurs as I read the news-item about the elaborate funeral held last week for Stephen Hawkin, a prominent champion of atheism, in the Cathedral Church at Cambridge University. There was a procession into the church, complete with senior Anglican clergy in full costumes. Inside, a Christian religious service was officiated by the Rev. Cally Hammond, the Dean of Gonville and Caius College at Cambridge University. There was organ music and hymns, including He Who Would Valiant Be, Sleep Fleshly Birth, and Jerusalem.


According to the New York Times,

Now Stephen Hawkin, the English cosmologist and black hole maven who died last week, and Sir Isaac Newton, the Englishman who founded modern physics, will rest together for eternity, or at least for its practical equivalent: the lifetime of the stones that make up Westminster Abbey in London.

Are these words  meant to be profound?  Or are they meant for a giggle? Or does anybody understand the difference anymore?


But really this is just blather –totally void of meaning. It does not rise to the level of blasphemy, I suggest a new word: sub-blasphemy – which I will define as blather struggling to rise to the level of blasphemy and failing.


At the funeral, there were testimonies, of course, to Hawkin’s contributions to the deepest science.  The vast majority of people who cannot get their minds around quantum physics or cosmology but who think that, being educated, they ought  to, depend upon the integrity of a very tiny company of people who do understand it (or say that they do) for the verdict that a great work was done by this brilliant man. The rest of us just take as given the judgment about the man’s brilliance and the related judgment about the meaning of this esoteric study. We trust that they are right and that no great consequences will ensue if they are not..


But among other complications is the fact that the great scientist paraded his scientific discovery as proof of the idiocy of believing in God.

According to the New York Times:

Hawkin became one of the world’s best-known and most inspiring scientists, known for his brilliance and his wit. [Hawkin’s] work focused on bringing together relativity — the nature of space and time — and quantum theory — how the smallest particles behave — to explain the creation of the Universe and how it is governed. He discovered that black holes, the fearsome hungry pits of bottomless gravity, were not final death but would leak and radiate, eventually exploding, recycling matter and energy in ways that still challenge physicists’  understanding.

Then comes this thought:

You didn’t need to understand the mathematics to grasp the notion of gaping maws sitting at the bottoms of galaxies or at the end of time, or the six-foot-deep hole with your own name on it.

If you will believe that that means anything, then you will believe anything.

Again, the New York Times:

It is hard not to perceive, peeking out from behind the math and inscrutable space-time diagrams on which this debate takes place, the need and desire of all humans for some kind of reassurance that death be not final, that something is left behind.

For himself, Hawkins has said:

We are each free to believe what we want and it is my view that the simplest explanation is there is no God. No one created the universe and no one directs our fate. This leads me to a profound realisation. There is probably no heaven, and no afterlife either. We have this one life to appreciate the grand design of the universe, and for that, I am extremely grateful.

While clearly meant to be profound, these words are simple blather – totally void of any fungible meaning. Because it is so vague, it does not rise to the level of blasphemy, however. I suggest a word: sub-blasphemy.


But look again at those hymns:

He who would valiant be ’gainst all disaster, Let him in constancy follow the Master. There’s no discouragement shall make him once relent His first avowed intent to be a pilgrim ….

Since, Lord, Thou dost defend us with Thy Spirit, We know we at the end, shall life inherit. Then fancies flee away! I’ll fear not what men say, I’ll labor night and day to be a pilgrim.

Nothing evasive or vague here.  Let’s pray that whatever friend or relative set upon this text as appropriate for singing at the funeral of this courageous man saw something in him that contradicted his professed atheism –something that he withheld from the world.



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A Most Miraculous Anniversary.

BY Paul Merkley.


The Lord shall set His hand for the second time to recover the remnants of His people and He shall set up an ensign for the nations and shall assemble the outcast of Israel and gather the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth. (Isaiah 11:11.)


On May 14, 2018, Israel will be observing its seventieth anniversary. Then, as now, Israel’s enemies will be asserting that the circumstances attending its birth are dubious and/or discreditable and will be insisting on a recount. (more…)

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Syria’s Future.

By Paul Merkley.


The Latest from the Syrian Front.

Just a few days ago, the United Nations appealed for an immediate cease-fire in Syria. This occurs as the people of Syria face a humanitarian crisis on the scale of that which now besets Yemen. In both places, the rattle of death is pervasive.  No-one anywhere in the land his head, for fear of having it shot off. (more…)

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By Paul Merkley.


The crude hedonism that overtook our popular culture in the 1960s is now turning-back upon itself and issuing in a new Puritanism, promoted by a new generation of accusers and punishers.  (more…)

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By Paul Merkley.


We are rapidly moving away from the notion that political parties in a democracy listen to the opinion of the people and serve as vehicles of their will. The thinking now is that political parties serve as enforcers of correct thinking. (more…)

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An Unanswerable Defense of the Study of History

By Paul Merkley.


Christianity is essentially a historical religion.  It bases its claims on the historical facts it asserts.  If these are demolished, it is nothing.  A Christian with faith has nothing to fear from facts [Paul Johnson, History of Christianity, ix-x.]   (more…)

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