When a Roman Catholic scholar involved in the Dead Sea Scrolls Project discovers a heretical message contained in one of the Scrolls he hides it. Decades later, a prominent archeologist discovers reference to the scroll in an archeological dig. This discovery spurs the world religions into a dangerous game of cat and mouse, in which all who seek the hidden scroll are mysteriously silenced, leaving the salvation of humankind to a father and son, who must either find the hidden scroll … or die trying.
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

On Idoltry: Does idolatry manifest itself in other ways?

Sure. Ever wonder why people used to (and in some cases, still do) greet upper tier clergy, royalty, and members of the social elite as “Your worship?” By this phrase, commoners venerate men and women of high worth, position, and social status. So is that worship? According to the definition of the word, yes. “Your worship” meant “Your worthiness,” and conveyed the distinction of high value.

So does this mean the commoners who used this phrase worshipped those they addressed in such a manner? Uh, yes. Yup, that’s about it. Not only did they worship them, they idolized them, and we see this dynamic applied as much to music, sports, and movie stars in the present day as we do to clergy, royalty, and the social elite.


“Oh, come on,” you might say, “You’re being ridiculous.”


No, I’m being precise.


I’m not saying God has forbidden us to honor such individuals; I’m just saying that, yes, addressing individuals in such terms as “Your worship” is a form of worship. However, where this crosses the line into the forbidden zone is when people revere others as gods, or grant them the honor and respect reserved for our Creator. Should they prefer these individuals’ guidance to the laws and guidance of revelation, they usurp God’s authority. Likewise, should they revere such an individual by, oh let’s say, claiming him to be infallible or by bowing down to him (even if just to kiss his ring), they grant him the rights and special honor reserved for Almighty God.

The Discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls



In the spring of 1947 Bedouin goat-herds, searching the cliffs along the Dead Sea for a lost goat (or for treasure, depending on who is telling the story), came upon a cave containing jars filled with manuscripts. That find caused a sensation when it was released to the world, and continues to fascinate the scholarly community and the public to this day.
The Qumran Site and the Dead Sea
The Qumran site and the Dead Sea.


The first discoveries came to the attention of scholars in 1948, when seven of the scrolls were sold by the Bedouin to a cobbler and antiquities dealer called Kando. He in turn sold three of the scrolls to Eleazar L. Sukenik of Hebrew University, and four to Metropolitan Mar Athanasius Yeshue Samuel of the Syrian Orthodox monastery of St. Mark. Mar Athanasius in turn brought his four to the American School of Oriental Research, where they came to the attention of American and European scholars. 

It was not until 1949 that the site of the find was identified as the cave now known as Qumran Cave 1. It was that identification that led to further explorations and excavations of the area of Khirbet Qumran. Further search of Cave 1 revealed archaeological finds of pottery, cloth and wood, as well as a number of additional manuscript fragments. It was these discoveries that proved decisively that the scrolls were indeed ancient and authentic.
Qumran Cave 4
Qumran Cave 4.


Between 1949 and 1956, in what became a race between the Bedouin and the archaeologists, ten additional caves were found in the hills around Qumran, caves that yielded several more scrolls, as well as thousands of fragments of scrolls: the remnants of approximately 800 manuscripts dating from approximately 200 B.C.E. to 68 C.E. 

The manuscripts of the Qumran caves include early copies of biblical books in Hebrew and Aramaic, hymns, prayers, Jewish writings known as pseudepigrapha (because they are attributed to ancient biblical characters such as Enoch or the patriarchs), and texts that seem to represent the beliefs of a particular Jewish group that may have lived at the site of Qumran. Most scholars believe that the Qumran community was very similar to the Essenes, one of four Jewish "philosophies" described by Josephus, a first century C.E. Jewish historian. Some have pointed to similarities with other Jewish groups mentioned by Josephus: the Sadducees, Pharisees, and Zealots.

We do not know precisely who wrote those sectarian scrolls, but we can say that the authors seemed to be connected to the priesthood, were led by priests, disapproved of the Jerusalem priesthood, encouraged a strict and pious way of life, and expected an imminent confrontation between the forces of good and evil. 

The Qumran Site
The Qumran archaeological site.

The Qumran library has proven to be enormously informative. From these texts we have increased our understanding of the transmission of the Bible, we have learned more about the development of early Judaism, and we have gained insight into the culture out of which emerged both Rabbinic Judaism and Christianity. 


Photographs by Bruce and Kenneth Zuckerman, West Semitic Research. 


Commentary by Marilyn J. Lundberg.


Read More

On Idolatry



It is a strange irony that those who reverence stones live in glass ideologies.

~ Dr. Laurence B. Brown


Idolatry—every monotheist abhors the thought, and yet many commit the crime themselves. Few today fully grasp the complexities of this issue, for the definition of idolatry has been buried beneath nearly 1,700 years of church tradition.

The second commandment states, “You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them” (Exodus 20:4–5). Alternate translations employ slightly different, though significant, wording, as for example: “You shall not bow down to them or worship them” (NRSV, NIV).

The commandment not to make carved images speaks for itself, as does the subsequent decree not to make any likeness whatsoever.

These directives could not be clearer. 


Read More

Inspiration


There is a certain relief in change, even though it be from bad to worse; as I have found in travelling in a stagecoach, that it is often a comfort to shift one's position and be bruised in a new place.

-- Washington Irving from Tales of a Traveller

Q and A With Dr. Laurence Brown


Dear Dr. Brown, Assalamualaikum,

I accidentally found your email address. I don’t know whether you will receive this message, anyway I will continue.

A non-Muslim friend of mine asked me some questions. The friend is a Buddhist.  I want to answer these questions in an effective way that the friend could understand. Can you please help me ? 

I told my friend that this life is a test for the hereafter, so that is why some are poor, some are healthy and some are rich. Then the friend asked me, “if it is that, what is god's criteria to select who will become rich, who will become poor, and who will be healthy?  Even if it is a test shouldn’t  everybody be tested in the same way?  Why does god test us in different ways? If he decides to test in different ways can't some question that this is unjust?

When Muslim women wear the hijab, some people might be curious to see what is inside (because the whole body is covered) which will cause the Muslim women harm. So can we say that it will protect her?

I don’t know whether these questions are illogical. I need to answer in a logical way so the friend may understand that is why I need your help. Can you please help me answer these questions.

Jazakallah khaire. Hoping to hear from you soon.


MY ANSWER:

Assalam alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatu,

Every parent knows that different children prefer different rewards, benefit most from different punishments, and demonstrate love through different sacrifices. What works with one child will not work with another. So it is with people. The test of faith works differently with one person from another. One person worships money more than anything else, so this person's faith is best tested by loss of money. Another values his wife more than anything, or his car, mother, or whatever. So the test will differ according to the differences in human nature, and according to what that person is most attached to. Will you take a rich man and test him with wealth he does not need? Or take someone who hates his children, and test him with the loss of one of the children he couldn't care less about? People are tested according to their dispensation.

As for covering women, this man's question betrays his sickness. What is he saying, that all women should be naked to remove all curiosity? That we should take our showers with the door open, in case he wants to see what we are doing? We cover ourselves (men and women) out of modesty. Only people with sickness in their hearts try to mentally undress others.

Best, and salams,
LBrown

Reader's Review: Excellent Work!

"Dr. Brown has delivered another excellent work in the field of contemporary Islamic literature. Books of this nature are relevant, timely and necessary in view of the increasing numbers of people either interested in or reverting to Islam in the western world. 'Bearing True Witness' provides a succinct overview of the faith as well as a road map to new Muslims, as they go about learning the day-to-day practices of the faith. Additionally, there is much in this balanced work that will be of benefit to those born into the faith. All in all, an excellent work, and priced most generously, especially in the digital format"

The Happy Hauthor By Dr. Laurence B. Brown

I remember a beautiful line in a movie I once saw, in which a father described his happy-go-lucky son as “a failure in everything but life.” Some people know how to succeed on societal terms, others know how to live, on their terms. Me, I want both. Screech! With all four tires of the vehicle of dreams locked and skipping, laying down dashed rubber burns on the macadam of life. In other words, reality-check time.
 

If you entered the literary world in hope of achieving fame and fortune, well, good luck. And good-bye. You’re not likely to last long. I know I didn’t. My ego was extinguished, my spirit shattered, my hopes and aspirations hacked and addered (not a real word, but nothing else would maintain the alliteration. Hey, if you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with big, steaming field patties of fecal smoothies from an adult male bovine who still has two eight-balls in his center pocket. Isn’t that how the saying goes, or did I miss something?). In any case, I quickly learned that I had to reset my expectations and come to grips with marketplace reality. To succeed in the literary world, you need vision, zeal, and commitment. More than anything else, you need to love what you do. Equally important, you need to redefine success. Notice I’m talking about you, not me. Me, I just need people to buy my books.

Okay, new subdivision of written composition. A paragraph, that is. Here goes: Few successful authors slug through their work in the manner of a clerk, going through the motions of satisfying the predetermined template of duties that constitutes their job. But don’t listen to me; go ahead and try it. Attend all the writing and publishing seminars you want; read all the instructional blogs and books you wish; study the secrets of the masters and catalog their success formulas. I’m not saying these tools won’t help. All I’m saying is they are like sex without salt, or meat without emotion. Uh, hold up a sec. Kids, don’t try this at home. Remember, I’m a trained professional, but there’s a small chance I transposed a couple of words there. Anywho, the fact of the matter is, if you don’t love what you’re doing (again, you, not me. If I sell my movie rights, I guarantee I’ll love what I’m doing), if you’re not intoxicated by the process of word-smithing, character-crafting and plot design, your work will lack the luster today’s audience demands. Simply going through the motions, like a literary prostitute, will never generate the same customer satisfaction as works of love and devotion, no matter how well you fake your “O”. Unlike me, of course. I’m really enjoying this. How is it for you?

All kidding aside, how is it, really? Does the flow catch you, does the energy carry you? No? Oh, well, in that case just leave your money on the pillow and be gone. The rest of you can probably tell that I’m having fun writing this. Matter of fact, I’m having a blast. Despite all the. Incomplete sentences. My grammar checker keeps highlighting. Ha! If only computers could scream from frustration!

So why am I having a blast? And why do you sense it? One reason, and one reason only: because I could care less what anybody thinks. I’m writing as I am, and loving it. To me, that’s the secret. If you sell yourself out as a writer, even if you make millions, you’ll always go to bed feeling dirty. And compromised. A dirty, compromised, sell-out millionaire sleeping in a bigger house than mine, dining on gourmet food served on the naked belly of your worldly desires, and loving every minute of it.

Stop. Remind me – what, exactly, was my point? Oh, yeah. Have fun. Be yourself. And get stinking rich. Then, when you’re bathing in warm Perrier, eating pre-chewed food and wiping your bootie (now isn’t that just the cutest little word you’ve ever heard?) with twenty-Euro notes left over from the latest of your many European tours, turn around and tell other people not to prostitute themselves to the craft.

But not us. Oh, no. We’re clean and pristine. You and me, that is. I’m not sure about the rest.

What? Return to the subject? Gosh, don’t you just love editors? Okay, back to the point: In addition to the reading audience, did I mention that literary agents and publishers also don’t like uninspired work? No? Well, there’s a reason I didn’t mention it: I try not to care (you probably couldn’t tell, huh?). Too many authors write to satisfy what they perceive to be a success formula demanded by literary agents and publishers. Big mistake, in my opinion (Sigh; another sentence fragment). From what I have seen, agents and publishers care about one thing, and one thing only, and that is whether a book will sell. If your work has an audience, they’ll be interested, whether they like your writing or not. Oh, sure, some of them are biased (painfully many) against handling politically or socially incorrect material, others have ethics (painfully few) that preclude material they judge to be offensive, and others confine their business domain to specific genres of their liking. In general, however, any book with an audience can be published by somebody, somewhere. I mean, have you checked out the children’s section of your local bookstore lately? If they can publish and sell kiddy books with titles like “Your Handkerchief is Better than the Wall,” what does this say about the marketplace?

Okay, that’s the theory. Fact is, the market is tough. Everybody who has tried to break in as a first time author knows this. The one thing we don’t like to admit, however, is that most authors don’t make the grade of marketability. All joking aside, we have raging egos, we’ve attended too many positive-thinking “Will Your Way to Success” seminars, and our books are our babies. Despite the fact that our book-babies are often wrinkled, bald and ugly, and frequently marred by multiple, serious birth defects, we love them as our own and simply cannot believe others don’t love them as much as we do. What are they, nuts?

Usually, no. Usually, they are trained professionals, and if they say our work doesn’t make the grade, we should listen. And learn. And try again. Even our nay-saying friends and family are usually trying to help, and we shouldn’t brush their criticisms aside. The cry of “The world just isn’t ready for me yet,” “This is my art, and I’m not going to change it for anybody,” and “You just don’t get what I’m trying to convey” are death rattles in the throat of the artist who seeks commercial success.

My serious advice?

1)    Accept criticism but reject praise. Criticism makes you introspective and helps you to improve yourself; praise condemns you to conceited lassitude, even when your work is littered with deficiencies.


2)    Hire a fearless, no holds barred, tell it like it is, manuscript-shredding editor. Cheerleader editors who say you’re doing everything right are probably just trying to get your business, and aren’t likely to guide you to a higher plane of achievement.

3)    Write for yourself. You’ll never regret having written a book that was boiling inside you, bursting to get out. Even if the book falls short of your market expectations, you’ll have it for posterity, and your sense of accomplishment will be priceless.

4)    Focus on subjects about which you are passionate. That passion will come through, and people will ride your wave of enthusiasm.

5)    Have fun. Conform to the necessary market rules, but bend or break the rest. A unique, fun, and/or eccentric literary voice can be an important key to success. If you take your work too seriously, you will suppress that voice, like Uncle Scrooge trying to do stand-up comedy.

6)    Keep your day job. Dream big, but don’t let your dreams override market reality. Writing is an art, and few artists live off of the proceeds of their craft.

7)    Redefine success. Despite all the playful stuff I wrote above, true success is to be had in satisfied accomplishment. If your work lives up to your standards, that is the first rung on the ladder of literary success. The more critics and readers you seduce with your writing, the higher you will climb up that ladder. If and when you get to the top, just don’t forget to salt your “O”.

Inspiration

T'is known by the name of perseverance in a good cause, and of obstinacy in a bad one -- Laurence Sterne

Dear Friends ...

"Last time, I told you that some of my books are under attack! Those who wish to take time for the pleasure of Allah and support my work can do so by giving positive ratings on Amazon.com and on Amazon.co.uk at the following links. 

Best, and salams,
LBrown





Bearing True Witness provides practical guidance to those who embrace the Islamic religion, suggesting the manner in which the new Muslim should live the Islamic religion. Issues such as fiqh differences, deviant sects, the pillars, and God-consciousness are all discussed, not to mention the sunnah of the shaitan, and how to protect oneself from being led astra.

http://www.amazon.com/Bearing-True-Witness-Found-Islam/dp/1451549172/ref=pd_sim_b_4

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Bearing-True-Witness-Found-Islam/dp/1451549172/ref=pd_sim_b_3


 

ON ATHEISM


“Life’s greatest tragedy is to lose God and not to miss him.”

--F.W. Norwood





Atheists might assert that they don’t acknowledge the existence of God, but the view of ome Christians and all Muslims is that at some level even the confirmed Atheist affirms God’s presence. The innate but neglected awareness of God typically surfaces in Atheist consciousness only in times of severe stress, as exemplified by the World War II quote “There are no Atheists in a fox-hole.” 

Undeniably there are times -- whether during the agonizing days of a lingering illness, the seemingly eternal moments of a violent and humiliating mugging, or the split second of anticipating the impact of an imminent car crash -- when all mankind recognize the reality of human fragility and the lack of human control over destiny. Who does a person beseech for help in such circumstances other than The Creator? Such moments of desperation should remind every person, from the religious scholar to the professed Atheist, of the dependence of mankind upon a reality far greater than our own meager human selves. A reality far greater in knowledge, power, will, majesty and  glory. 

In such moments of distress, when all human efforts have failed and no element of material existence can be foreseen to provide comfort or rescue, Whom else will a person instinctively call upon? In such moments of trial, how many stress-induced appeals are made to God, complete with promises of lifelong fidelity? Yet, how few are kept?

Reader's Review: Best book I've read in a while...



I recommend this book for honest truth seekers and those who appreciate really good story telling! Dr Brown once again combines truths and fiction to really get the reader thinking, while taking them on a roller coaster ride. The use of characters and their interactions are original and their are some truly shocking facts that most today are unaware of.

The Discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls


In the spring of 1947 Bedouin goat-herds, searching the cliffs along the Dead Sea for a lost goat (or for treasure, depending on who is telling the story), came upon a cave containing jars filled with manuscripts. That find caused a sensation when it was released to the world, and continues to fascinate the scholarly community and the public to this day.
The Qumran Site and the Dead Sea
The Qumran site and the Dead Sea.


The first discoveries came to the attention of scholars in 1948, when seven of the scrolls were sold by the Bedouin to a cobbler and antiquities dealer called Kando. He in turn sold three of the scrolls to Eleazar L. Sukenik of Hebrew University, and four to Metropolitan Mar Athanasius Yeshue Samuel of the Syrian Orthodox monastery of St. Mark. Mar Athanasius in turn brought his four to the American School of Oriental Research, where they came to the attention of American and European scholars. 

It was not until 1949 that the site of the find was identified as the cave now known as Qumran Cave 1. It was that identification that led to further explorations and excavations of the area of Khirbet Qumran. Further search of Cave 1 revealed archaeological finds of pottery, cloth and wood, as well as a number of additional manuscript fragments. It was these discoveries that proved decisively that the scrolls were indeed ancient and authentic.
Qumran Cave 4
Qumran Cave 4.


Between 1949 and 1956, in what became a race between the Bedouin and the archaeologists, ten additional caves were found in the hills around Qumran, caves that yielded several more scrolls, as well as thousands of fragments of scrolls: the remnants of approximately 800 manuscripts dating from approximately 200 B.C.E. to 68 C.E. 

The manuscripts of the Qumran caves include early copies of biblical books in Hebrew and Aramaic, hymns, prayers, Jewish writings known as pseudepigrapha (because they are attributed to ancient biblical characters such as Enoch or the patriarchs), and texts that seem to represent the beliefs of a particular Jewish group that may have lived at the site of Qumran. Most scholars believe that the Qumran community was very similar to the Essenes, one of four Jewish "philosophies" described by Josephus, a first century C.E. Jewish historian. Some have pointed to similarities with other Jewish groups mentioned by Josephus: the Sadducees, Pharisees, and Zealots.

We do not know precisely who wrote those sectarian scrolls, but we can say that the authors seemed to be connected to the priesthood, were led by priests, disapproved of the Jerusalem priesthood, encouraged a strict and pious way of life, and expected an imminent confrontation between the forces of good and evil. 

The Qumran Site
The Qumran archaeological site.

The Qumran library has proven to be enormously informative. From these texts we have increased our understanding of the transmission of the Bible, we have learned more about the development of early Judaism, and we have gained insight into the culture out of which emerged both Rabbinic Judaism and Christianity. 


Photographs by Bruce and Kenneth Zuckerman, West Semitic Research. 


Commentary by Marilyn J. Lundberg.


Read More

Inspiration

Even cowards can endure hardship; only the brave can endure suspense. 

-- Mignon McLaughlin

Dear Friends ...

"Last time, I told you that some of my books are under attack! Those who wish to take time for the pleasure of Allah and support my work can do so by giving positive ratings on Amazon.com and on Amazon.co.uk at the following links. 

Best, and salams,
LBrown





David Cohen's wife didn't deserve to die. Sarah Weizmann shouldn't blame herself for Leah's murder. But the shocking crime served a militant Zionist group's strategic purpose. When David and Sarah team up to find Leah's killer, they are drawn into a maze of murder and intrigue designed to conceal the ugly history of Zionism. Following a path through Poland’s WWII death camps, they are forced to fight for their lives against both a psychopathic Nazi war criminal and Israel's Mossad. When they discover the dark secret that links their two antagonists, they realize something is bound to die – themselves, the horrifying truth, or all together. The Zion Deception is a fully-annotated and meticulously researched work that expresses pro-Jewish, anti-Zionist views popular among Jewish revisionist historians. Although controversial, it challenges what readers know about anti-Semitism, Zionism, and Israel. With a keen sense of closure and awareness of the interconnectedness behind history’s failings, author Dr. Laurence B. Brown exposes popularized fallacies, and reveals the threat Zionism poses not only to Jews, but to the world as a whole.
 





The Zion Deception



 

Q & A With Dr. Laurence Brown

A brother living in North America emailed me that he has found himself challenged by the arguments of the Atheists to the point where he feels he is losing his faith. He is struggling, but he is tormented by his fear of losing faith. Family members have read Qur'an over him, but to no avail. What can he do?

My answer: If reading Qur'an or having Qur'an read over you hasn't changed anything, your problem is probably not hassad (evil eye). Rather, you are suffering through the same philosophical issues that have tormented many sincere believers over time. So, the bad news is that these issues really do torment a true believer, but the good news is that they only torment a TRUE believer. See what I mean? If you weren't a true believer these arguments would not torment you. If you were weak in faith or deficient in emaan, you would have thrown your Islam away by now. The fact that you haven't done that indicates that you have true love of Allah and true emaan inside you, but you are struggling against the arguments of the disbelievers. Well, welcome to the club!!! All true believers struggle to explain Islam to the disbelievers. But here is the key thing that you need to understand -- most of Islam IS unseen. Islam CANNOT be proven in the way the atheists and rationalists "prove" things. Emaan (belief) is something Allah places in the hearts of those He loves, and true believers CANNOT guide those for whom Allah has written disbelief. The fact that most disbelievers do not come to Islam does not mean your arguments are wrong, it only means Allah has not written Islam for those people. Likewise, the fact that it is difficult to counter the disbelievers' so-called 'rational' arguments does not mean they are right, just that these are issues that cannot be resolved through rational argument. 


Think of it like a headache. If I have a headache, how can I convince you? I might try to show my pain, but for all you know, I could be faking it. You might call me a liar and tell me you won't believe in my headache until I show it to you, or explain where it came from. But there is no way I can do those things, despite me knowing very well that my headache is real. No matter how hard I grimace and complain, I cannot show you my headache. Well, our religion is something like this example. So much of Islam is unseen -- Allah, the angels and jinn, the Hereafter, Heaven, Hell, Qadr, Emaan, etc. If you have belief, you cannot show or prove your faith to others. All you can do is invite them to true faith, lay out the arguments as best you can, and then see if Allah guides them. Understand that few will follow, and the majority will not. Also understand they will try to misguide you. However, if your emaan is strong enough, as is the case with a headache, they will not be able to convince you that it is not real. 

So, to summarize, you need to leave the arguments of the disbelievers and strengthen your emaan. The fact that you are agonizing over this issue basically proves that you are two things: 

1) human, and troubled by our human weaknesses and 

2) a good muslim at heart, but nonetheless one who needs to strengthen his belief as well as his Islamic understanding in order to safeguard his religion. But take care. If you persist upon listening and engaging in argument with the disbelievers, they can weaken or destroy your faith. Allah tells us to leave talks in which He is being disparaged or in which His religion is being disparaged. Learn to walk away from it. So start by leaving the websites and arguments that have brought you to this crisis, and turn to reading EVERYTHING on my website, http://www.realityofgod.com/. Then, watch my videos on the multimedia page of LevelTruth.com.

And lastly, contact me as needed to both tell me how you're doing, and in case you have any questions. And remember, as the prophet taught us, Islam came as a stranger and will return as a stranger, so give good tidings to strangers. Yes, you are strange (as are all true believers) in the society you are living in. But please understand that this is a sign that you are among those to whom the good tidings of true belief are due.

Why Islam?


From a Muslim convert to all seekers of truth

Let's talk frankly. Almost never do non-Muslims study Islam until they have first exhausted the religions of their exposure. Only after they have grown dissatisfied with the religions familiar to them, meaning Judaism, Christianity and all the fashionable "-isms"—Buddhism, Taoism, Hinduism (and, as my young daughter once added, "tourism")—do they consider Islam.

Perhaps other religions do not answer the big questions of life, such as "Who made us?" and "Why are we here?" Perhaps other religions do not reconcile the injustices of life with a fair and just Creator. Perhaps we find hypocrisy in the clergy, untenable tenets of faith in the canon, or corruption in the scripture. Whatever the reason, we perceive shortcomings in the religions of our exposure, and look elsewhere. And the ultimate "elsewhere" is Islam.

Now, Muslims would not like to hear me say that Islam is the "ultimate elsewhere." But it is. Despite the fact that Muslims comprise one-fourth to one-fifth of the world's population, non-Muslim media smears Islam with such horrible slanders that few non-Muslims view the religion in a positive light. Hence, it is normally the last religion seekers investigate.

Another problem is that by the time non-Muslims examine Islam, other religions have typically heightened their skepticism: If every "God-given" scripture we have ever seen is corrupt, how can the Islamic scripture be different? If charlatans have manipulated religions to suit their desires, how can we imagine the same not to have happened with Islam?

The answer can be given in a few lines, but takes books to explain. The short answer is this: There is a God. He is fair and just, and He wants us to achieve the reward of paradise. However, God has placed us in this worldly life as a test, to weed out the worthy from the unworthy. And we will be lost if left to our own devices. Why? Because we don't know what He wants from us. We can't navigate the twists and turns of this life without His guidance, and hence, He has given us guidance in the form of revelation.

Sure, previous religions have been corrupted, and that is why we have a chain of revelation. Ask yourself: why would God send another revelation if the preceding scriptures were still pure? Only if preceding scriptures were corrupted would God need to send another revelation, to keep mankind on the straight path of His design.

So we should expect preceding scriptures to be corrupted, and we should expect the final revelation to be pure and unadulterated. If impure, it too is due to be replaced, for we cannot imagine a loving God leaving us astray. What we can imagine is God giving us a scripture, and men corrupting it; God giving us another scripture, and men corrupting it again … and again, and again. Until God sends a final revelation He promises to preserve until the end of time.

Muslims consider this final revelation to be the Holy Qur'an. You consider it … worth looking into. So let us return to the title of this article: Why Islam? Why should we believe that Islam is the religion of truth, the religion that possesses the pure and final revelation?

Oh, just trust me.

Now, how many times have you heard that line? A famous comedian used to joke that people of different cities cuss one another out in different ways. In Chicago, they cuss a person out this way, in Los Angeles they cuss a person out that way, but in New York they just say, "Trust me."

So don't trust me—trust our Creator. Read the Qur'an; read books and study this website. But whatever you do, get started, take it seriously, and pray for our Creator to guide you.

Your life may not depend on it, but your soul most definitely does.



Copyright © 2007 Laurence B. Brown
Permission granted for free and unrestricted reproduction if reproduced in entirety without omissions, additions or alterations.

A graduate of Cornell University, Brown University Medical School and George Washington University Hospital residency program, Laurence B. Brown is an ophthalmic surgeon, a retired Air Force officer, and the medical director and chief ophthalmologist of a major eye center. He is also an ordained interfaith minister with a doctorate in divinity and a PhD in religion, and the author of a number of books of comparative religion and reality-based fiction. His works can be found on his website, www.LevelTruth.com.

Reader's Review: The First and Final Commandment


Take a tour of the Semitic religions from Abraham to Muhammad (peace be with them)

This scholarly tome is a MUST for any students of comparative religion, especially if your area of interest happens to be the Semitic faiths of Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

A thoroughly well-researched piece of engrossing scholarship, Dr. Brown has done a commendable job in narrating the evolution of faith from the religion of the Jews through Pauline Christianity and culminating in the global faith of Islam. All the major doctrines are dissected in a scholarly fashion highlighting the differences and similarities between the Abrahamic faiths.

This book is divided into 6 sections, with the first section focussed on the subject of monotheism (belief in one God) which underpins the theological concept in the Abrahamic religions. The Jewish concept of God is contrasted with the Christian Trinity and compared to the Islamic tawheed (absolute monotheism) that proclaims Allah as the One True God worthy of worship.

Section 2 goes into detail on the nature and attributes of God as understood in the 3 religions. Special emphasis is given to the ever controversial mainstream Christian dogma venerating the alleged divinity of Christ as the son of God. This is quite an exciting part of the book packed with tons of references that puts Christology under a scholarly microscope as it dissects all points of view and arguments.

Section 3 explores the origins, composition and transmission of the religious scriptures, namely the Jewish Tanakh, Christian New Testament and the Muslim Quran. It provides an in-depth coverage on the makings of those heavenly texts with a richly documented analysis on the historical reliability and textual integrity of the Qur'an as God's final revelation to the world.

The following section elaborates on the concept of prophethood and divine messenger-ship from Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Aaron, David, Solomon, John the Baptiser, Jesus Christ and finally Muhammad. Their noble character, mortal existence, miracles performed and the message they preached are given adequate and equal attention.

Next, the discussion revolves around things unseen which are accepted as a matter of faith - the world of angels and eschatology as portrayed in those religious traditions. Dr. Brown does a fine job in explaining this theme backed by solid research. Quite rare for a non-specialist to achieve this feat. The final section neatly summarises the main themes expounded in this book and takes a quick look at some man-made cults and modern-day heresies. Dr. Brown also touches on how to arrive at a correct understanding of faith that accords with common sense and human logic.Quite philosophical and spiritual at the same time.

Obviously much effort has been put into the making of this book and for that Dr. Brown deserves our accolade. For those who wish to acquire a clearer understanding of Islam vis-à-vis the earlier Semitic religions, this book is adequate compensation. It is equally relevant for Muslims who wish to share their faith with their fellow humans among the believing Jews and Christians. Believe me, The First & Final Commandment is worth your time and money. You won't regret it.

Inspiration



In the country of the blind the one-eyed man is king – Erasmus


-----Hmm. So what will the situation be, when the one-eyed Dajjal leads the spiritually blind?

Q & A With Dr. Laurence Brown

EMAILER: I cannot pray like that, I need evidences and justifications before.. I read Quran 3 times, but its verses are inhumane and unreasonable. While I welcome the truth, I hope Islam is not true. Unbelievers who are so nice go to hell while rude believers somehow end up in heaven where they are awaited 72 virgins. I also see plenty verses where violence is encouraged, barely any verses condemn wrongdoing to Muslims.. homosexuals are also a target... I am not trying to rebel, I hate rebelling, but i don't see strong evidences toward this religion or any in fact.. Many components of such religion are hard for me to support like unbelievers going to hell, homosexuals are sinners or praying 5 times a day.. too much.. :((

MY ANSWER: Like I said, I invite you to read my books -- or not. Up to you. How can I convince you if Allah has sealed your heart and your hearing? I can only bear the message. Only Allah can give you the gift of faith. If you cannot pray to your Creator, don't expect an answer from Him.

Final comment: The lesson is that an impolite exchange can still be manipulated into one in which the message is borne, without transgressing into obscenity or rudeness. Has the Emailer gotten the message? If so, I've done my job in front of Allah. Alhumdulillah.

Dr. Brown Discusses his Jihad



Dr. Laurence Brown talks about his acceptance of Islam and how it affected his life. Dr. Brown a former Military Ophthalmologist endured of hardships as a result of his conversion, including losing his family, job, wealth and home.

Dr. Brown discusses how he dealt with these tests and  the positive changes made in his life due to Islam.

Who I Am Not ...

I am not a debater. 

Don't try to engage me in argument. I believe everybody should simply put their material out there for those who are interested. If people want it, it's there for them. If people don't want it, shoving it down their throats isn't going to do anything but antagonize them. Keep it polite, okay?

I'm not an Islamic scholar. 


 Please don't write asking for fatwa (legal ruling). I have an interest in comparative religion, moral outreach and Islamic invitation, but I do not make fatwa under any circumstances.

For the most part, I'm also not available for one-on-one counseling.  


I say "for the most part" because I do answer emails personally, and I post the best question of the week on my blog. However, I have little free time to socialize or get into lengthy exchanges.

And I'm not patient. 


 Please. Read my work before contacting me with questions. I have already covered most of the issues people inquire about, and it's frustrating when people email questions without even looking at my articles and books. There is little or no excuse - the articles are free, the Itunes e-books are less than a dollar in English-speaking nations from America to Australia.

Lastly, I'm not a silver bullet.  


Many Muslims want to see the message of Islam spread, but only if someone else does it for them. As for themselves, they won't lift a finger or spend a dollar on the effort. I receive many requests to talk with husbands, wives, sisters, brothers, friends, etc., and teach them about Islam. Please, study my material, arm yourself with the information, and then talk to them yourself. You will find I have organized my information to be accessible, systematic and convincing. Learn it, use it, teach it. I have spent most of my Muslim life compiling this information, the least others can do is take a couple of weeks to learn it, and then pass it on.

Dear Friend ...

"Last time, I told you that some of my books are under attack! Those who wish to take time for the pleasure of Allah and support my work can do so by giving positive ratings on Amazon.com and on Amazon.co.uk at the following links. 

Best, and salams,
LBrown






A powerful challenge to conventional Judeo-Christian theology, The First and Final Commandment combines the author's two books, MisGod'ed and God'ed, within one cover. The First and Final Commandment begins by defining the internal conflicts that fracture the metaphysical worlds of Judaism and Christianity from within, and indeed, which demand reappraisal of the Judeo-Christian scriptures themselves. Incorporating detailed analysis, this work continues on to document the scriptural evidences that suggest continuity in revelation from Judaism to Christianity and, in the end, to orthodox (Sunni) Islam. Provocative and thought-provoking, intelligent and inspiring, this book enters the melee of two thousand years of religious debate with clarity of vision, accuracy of detail, and common sense conclusions which boldly confront conventional Judeo-Christian conclusions.


The First and Final Commandment


Q & A With Dr. Laurence Brown

EMAILER: WHY DON'T YOU HELP ME?

MY ANSWER: You didn't write for help -- you wrote to rant. If you want help, pray to our Creator for guidance, read the Qur'an, and I invite you to read my books. The concept of the Abrahamic faiths having been based upon hallucinations resulting from using hallucinogenic plants is as infantile as it is laughable.

Inspiration


For the most part, people do not see life as it is, but as they are – anon




Reader's Review: Eye-opener on the history of Christian beliefs



By TruthSeeker


Do you believe the concept of Trinity existed from the time of Jesus ? Does it surprise you to learn that the New Catholic Encyclopedia has the following to say on the origins of the concept of Trinity: "The formulation 'One God in 3 Persons' was not solidly established, certainly not fully fully assimilated into Christian life and its profession of faith, prior to the end of the 4th century. But it is precisely this formulation that has first claim to the title 'the Trinitarian dogma'. Among the Apostolic Fathers, there had been nothing even remotely approaching such a mentality or perspective" ? Or that much of Christian canon, and the Pauline teachings from which they were derived, actually contradict Jesus' teachings ?

If so, Misgod'ed is for you ... this is an excellent book that discusses various facets of modern-day Christian creed, the manner in which this creed evolved, the scriptural basis (or lack of it) for Christian beliefs as well as the position of Judaism and Islam on these creedal issues.

The author has done an amazing job of writing about religion in an engaging, lively and entertaining manner that makes this book hard to put down. I strongly recommend the book to anyone interested in Comparitive Religion but specifically to Christians interested in learning about the history of their faith that is usually kept concealed and hidden from view.




Q & A With Dr. Laurence Brown

EMAILER: WHY I AM NO LONGER MUSLIM

THE ORIGIN OF ABRAHAMIC RELIGIONS AND THEIR END..

Thousands of years ago, in the pre monarchic era, sacred plants and other entheogenic substances where politically correct and highly respected for their ability to bring forth the divine, Yahweh, God, The Great Spirit, etc., by the many cultures who used them.

Often the entire tribe or community would partake in the entheogenic rites and rituals.

These rites were often used in initiation into adulthood, for healing, to help guide the community in the decision process, and to bring the direct religious experience to anyone seeking it. In the pre literate world, the knowledge of psychedelic sacraments, as well as fertility rites and astronomical knowledge surrounding the sun, stars, and zodiac, known as astrotheology, were anthropomorphized into a character or a deity; consequently, their stories and practices could easily be passed down for generations.

Weather changes over millenniums caused environmental changes that altered the available foods and plant sacraments available in the local vicinity. If a tribe lost its shamanic El-der (El - God), all of the tribe\'s knowledge of their plant sacraments as well as astronomical knowledge would be lost.


The Church’s inquisitions extracted this sacred knowledge from the local Shamans who were then exterminated…


MY ANSWER: 


Uh, I don't usually say this, but you are clearly bonkers. Please renew your lithium prescription and then stay away from people. You need to be off on your own, digging roots in a forest until your destiny takes you to the reality of the Hereafter, and its punishment for disbelief.

Reader's Review: Probably the best novel I've ever read...



At first I thought perhaps my fascination with and enjoyment of The Eighth Scroll was prejudiced by my recent immersion into Lawrence Brown's captivating style when I read his non-fiction books Misgod-ed and God-ed. After finishing Dr. Brown's first novel (anxiously awaiting more...), I read a New York Times Best Seller in a similar genre by a widely acclaimed author who has seen several of his novels made into popular action movies, and was somewhat surprised to discover it paled in comparison to the intrigue, character development, plot consistency and credibility, and... yes, writing style that I enjoyed in The Eighth Scroll. Then, while being entertained, I was also learning, as Dr. Brown weaves some very interesting historical facts into his fictional story.

The plot centers around a purported Dead Sea scroll, the contents of which would provide conclusive support to other extant evidence that undermines commonly espoused but controversial versions of the life and mission of Jesus Christ. A surprising collection of individuals and groups would, and do, kill to gain control of the scroll, and the reader is kept on edge as the plot develops to its exciting climax. Speaking of which, it is also very refreshing to know there is an author who can include romance in his works without feeling compelled to appeal to assumedly deprived readers' desire for graphic descriptions of certain acts and anatomy. This book is exciting, entertaining, and laugh-out-loud funny throughout... and even if read only for those reasons, I truly believe that, as I did, all readers will discover they continue to think about it long after turning the last page.

The Big Questions, Part III—The Need for Revelation

In the previous two parts of this series, we answered the two "big questions." Who made us? God. Why are we here? To serve and worship Him. A third question naturally arose: "If our Creator made us to serve and worship Him, how do we do that?" In the previous article I suggested that the only way we can serve our Creator is through obeying His mandates, as conveyed through revelation.

But many people would question my assertion: Why does mankind need revelation? Isn't it enough just to be good? Isn't it enough for each of us to worship God in our own way?

Regarding the need for revelation, I would make the following points: In the first article of this series I pointed out that life is full of injustices, but our Creator is fair and just and He establishes justice not in this life, but in the afterlife. However, justice cannot be established without four things—a court (i.e., the Day of Judgment); a judge (i.e., the Creator); witnesses (i.e., men and women, angels, elements of creation); and a book of laws upon which to judge (i.e., revelation). Now, how can our Creator establish justice if He did not hold humankind to certain laws during their livetimes? It's not possible. In that scenario, instead of justice, God would be dealing out injustice, for He would be punishing people for transgressions they had no way of knowing were crimes.

Why else do we need revelation? To begin with, without guidance mankind cannot even agree on social and economic issues, politics, laws, etc. So how can we ever agree on God? Secondly, nobody writes the user manual better than the one who made the product. God is the Creator, we are creation, and nobody knows the overall scheme of creation better than the Creator. Are employees allowed to design their own job descriptions, duties and compensation packages as they see fit? Are we citizens allowed to write our own laws? No? Well then, why should we be allowed to write our own religions? If history has taught us anything, it is the tragedies that result when mankind follows its caprice. How many who have claimed to banner of free thought have designed religions that committed themselves and their followers to nightmares on Earth and damnation in the hereafter?

So why isn't it enough just to be good? And why isn't it enough for each of us to worship God in our own way? To begin with, peoples' definitions of "good" differ. For some it is high morals and clean living, for others it is madness and mayhem. Similarly, concepts of how to serve and worship our Creator differ as well. More importantly and to the point, nobody can walk into a store or a restaurant and pay with a different currency than the merchant accepts. So it is with religion. If people want God to accept their servitude and worship, they have to pay in the currency God demands. And that currency is obedience to His revelation.

Imagine raising children in a home in which you have established "house rules." Then, one day, one of your children tells you he or she has changed the rules, and is going to do things differently. How would you respond? More than likely, with the words, "You can take your new rules and go to Hell!" Well, think about it. We are God's creation, living in His universe under His rules, and "go to Hell" is very likely what God will say to any who presume to override His laws with their own.

Sincerity becomes an issue at this point. We should recognize that all pleasure is a gift from our Creator, and deserving of thanks. If given a gift, who uses the gift before giving thanks? And yet, many of us enjoy God's gifts for a lifetime and never give thanks. Or give it late. The English poet, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, spoke of the irony of the distressed human appeal in The Cry of the Human:

And lips say “God be pitiful,”
Who ne’er said, “God be praised.”

Should we not show good manners and thank our Creator for His gifts now, and subsequently for the rest of our lives? Don't we owe Him that?

You answered "Yes." You must have. Nobody will have read this far without being in agreement, but here's the problem: Many of you answered "Yes," knowing full well that your heart and mind does not wholly agree with the religions of your exposure. You agree we were created by a Creator. You struggle to understand Him. And you yearn to serve and worship Him in the manner He prescribes. But you don't know how, and you don't know where to look for the answers. And that, unfortunately, is not a subject that can be answered in an article. Unfortunately, that has to be addressed in a book, or maybe even in a series of books.

The good news is that I have written these books. I invite you to start with The Eighth Scroll. If you've liked what I've written here, you'll love what I've written there.


Copyright © 2007 Laurence B. Brown
Permission granted for free and unrestricted reproduction if reproduced in entirety without omissions, additions or alterations.