The Religious Motivation for Violence of Islamic Extremist Groups

  • In recent days the world has been shocked by the atrocities being carried out by the Islamic extremist group known as ISIS. What is the religious motivation for such barbaric activity?
  • The Islamic holy book, the Koran, contains 109 “war verses” advocating the killing of Jews, Christians, and other infidels (See for example: Surah 8:12-13; Surah 9:5-30,123; Surah 47:4). This is significant, as Muslims believe the words of the Koran come directly from Allah.
  • During his lifetime, Mohammed, the founder and prophet of Islam, ordered or led 73 attacks against non-Muslim Arabs, Jews, and Christians. The example of their prophet is powerful motivation for the Islamic extremist.
  • Islam historically has divided the world into two distinct camps: the dar al harb (house of war) vs. the dar al Islam (house of Islam). Thus, according to Islamic extremists, you are either a Muslim or you are at war with Islam.
  • Islam is a religion of works and entrance into the Islamic paradise must be earned. However, because Allah is capricious by nature there is no assurance of salvation in Islam. The only certain way to gain paradise in Islam is to die as a martyr in jihad or “holy war” for Allah (Surah 4:47; Surah 9:89).

For more information on the motivation and goals of Islamic terrorism please check out the documentary DVD, Islam Rising, available in our online store.

The Baha’i Faith

  • The Baha’i faith was founded in 1863 by a Persian man named Mirza Husayn Ali, also known as the Baha’u’llah (the glory of God).
  • The Baha’i faith claims that there have been nine world manifestations of God, including: Abraham, Moses, Buddha, Jesus, and Mohammed. They teach that the Baha’u’llah is the manifestation of God for the present age.
  • The Baha’i faith attracts people with its inclusive message of the oneness of the human race, the unity of the world’s religions, and the promotion of global social justice and peace.
  • While the Baha’i faith claims to be inclusive and accepting of all religious beliefs, ultimately the Baha’i create a new exclusivism, insisting that the Baha’u’llah is the final and supreme manifestation of God.
  • Furthermore, while the Baha’i faith claims that all major religions teach the same essential truths, in reality, mutually exclusive truth claims permeate the world’s religions (ex. Christianity- God is personal vs. Hinduism- God is impersonal).
  • The Baha’i faith is ultimately at odds with the biblical worldview, which teaches that Jesus is not simply one of many manifestations of God, but he alone is the eternal God incarnate (John 1:1; Colossians 1:16-17; Colossians 2:9) and the only way of salvation for the world (John 14:6; Acts 4:12).

For more information on the various cults and religions of the world, please check out Dr. Carlson’s book, Fast Facts on False Teachings, available in our online store.

the Question, “What About Those Who’ve Never Heard About Jesus?” 

  • Many people wrestle with the question of the eternal fate of those who’ve never heard the gospel of Jesus Christ. For example, some ask, “What about the guy in the jungle who’s never heard the name of Jesus? How could God judge someone who by no fault of their own never had a chance to hear the good news?”
  • To answer this question we must be ready to address three central issues: the nature of God, the nature of humanity, and the nature of God’s plan of salvation. To unpack these issues consider the following biblical truths.
  • First, the Bible assures us that God will treat all people with perfect fairness, justice, and love (Dt. 32:3; 1 Tim. 2:3-4; 2 Pt. 3:9). God’s heart is for people and he doesn’t want anyone to miss out on a relationship with him. We can be sure that God will judge every person on earth fairly and justly.
  • Second, God’s word is clear that the guy in the jungle who’s never heard the name of Jesus is as guilty as Billy Graham (Ecc. 7:20). There are no innocent natives or evangelists. All of humanity is infected by sin and our sin separates us from our holy, Creator-God (Rom. 3:23; Rom. 6:23; Is. 64:6). Thus, all people need salvation.
  • Third, God has plainly revealed that his plan of salvation is “one-way” (Jn. 3:16-18, 36; Jn. 14:6; Acts 4:12; Acts 16:31). God hasn’t given us a bunch of options as to how we might be saved. He’s told us clearly that we all need Jesus.
  • Fourth, the Bible tells us that even those who’ve never heard the name of Jesus have been given the knowledge of God (Rom. 1:18-20; Ps. 19:1-3; Ecc. 3:11; Rom. 2:15). God has not left himself without a testimony (Acts 14:17). People aren’t condemned for what they don’t know, but for what they do know and have rejected. However, for those who respond to the light of God’s general revelation, we have to trust that more light will be given (Hebrews 11:6).
  • Fifth, as Christians we remain under the mandate of the Great Commission (Mt. 28:18-20; Rom. 10:13-15). People need Jesus; and God has given us the command to be his ambassadors to the world (2 Cor. 5:20). If we’re concerned about the guy in the jungle who’s never heard about Jesus, the most appropriate question we can ask is, “What am I going to do about it?”

For more helpful answers to common apologetic questions, please check out the book, Apologetics For A New Generation, available in our online store.

Responding to the Mormon Doctrine of God

  • Mormons teach that God, the Father, has a body of flesh and bone. However, the Bible teaches that God is Spirit (John 4:24; Matthew 16:15-17).
  • Mormons believe that God evolved from mortal man. However, the Bible says that God has been God from “everlasting to everlasting” (Psalm 90:2) and that God is not a man and He does not change (Hosea 11:9; Malachi 3:6). Even the Book of Mormon contradicts official church teaching, saying that God is not a changeable being and is “unchangeable from all eternity to all eternity” (Moroni 8:18).
  • Mormons are polytheists, believing in a pantheon of gods. However, the Bible repeatedly denounces the idea of polytheism (for example, see Isaiah chapters 44-46). Also, the Book of Mormon again contradicts official church doctrine on this point, teaching monotheism (Alma 11:22-31).
  • Mormons teach that all faithful male Mormons have the ability to become gods themselves, just as God the Father did. However, the Bible says, “Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me” (Isaiah 43:10).

For more information on the beliefs of Mormonism, please check out the documentary DVD titled, The Secret World of Mormonism available in our online store.

The Enumah Elish, Epic of Gilgamesh, and the Book of Genesis

  • The Enumah Elish is a Mesopotamian story dating to 1800 B.C. It bears many similarities to Genesis chapters 1-10, including an account of the creation of the world, humanity’s offense against the gods, and a great flood that was sent to destroy humanity.
  • The Epic of Gilgamesh is a Babylonian story that dates to the 7th century B.C. and is likely based on an earlier text, the Atrahasis Epic, which dates to 1800 B.C. The Gilgamesh Epic is the story of a man named Utnapishtim who survived a great flood with his family and many animals after being warned by the god Ea to build a boat.
  • Many critical scholars and skeptics argue that Genesis 1-10 (written around 1400 B.C.) isn’t true history. They say that the similarities found in the early chapters of Genesis to the Enuma Elish and Epic of Gilgamesh demonstrate that the biblical authors borrowed from earlier pagan mythologies.
  • The reality though, is that the differences between these pagan mythologies and Genesis 1-10 are far greater than the similarities and they actually support the Bible’s record of history.
  • Mythologies tend to exaggerate and they become more distorted and less realistic as they’re passed down throughout history. This is what we see in the Enuma Elish and Epic of Gilgamesh.
  • Genesis 1-10 on the other hand presents a simpler, more sober view of the historical details it shares. This makes it unlikely that it was borrowed from these earlier mythologies.
  • That the Enuma Elish and Epic of Gilgamesh share similarities with the Bible is simply a demonstration that the creation of the world, the fall of humanity, and the flood of Noah were actual historical events.
  • The Bible records the true and accurate history of these events passed down by God’s chosen people, the Israelites. While these pagan accounts simply reflect the distortion of history and accrual of mythology as different cultures shared and interpreted history through their pagan religious beliefs.

For more on the historical validity of the Bible, please check out Dr. Carlson’s lecture, The Bible: Is It the Word of God? available in CD or MP3 in our online store.

Where is God in the Midst of My Suffering?

  • Questioning God in the midst of suffering is a common human reality, but God’s word reminds us of some powerful truths that can encourage and sustain us through difficult times.
  • First, God knows all about your circumstances. He is never surprised, never shocked, and never caught off guard. As Psalm 139:16 reminds, “all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”
  • Second, God cares about the trials you’re experiencing. Psalm 139:17-18 declares, “How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them they would outnumber the grains of sand”. Have you tried counting the grains of sand at the beach lately? God is not indifferent to your suffering. You are on His mind continuously!
  • Third, God comforts with His faithful presence and gentle touch. Psalm 139:7-12 assures there is nowhere you can go to flee God’s presence; even in your darkest hour He is there with you. And verse 10 affirms, “your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.”
  • When you find yourself in the midst of the trials of life, remember: God knows, God cares, and God comforts. Trust Him!

For more information on finding hope in the midst of suffering, check out Dr. Carlson’s powerful lecture titled, Health, Wealth, and the Prosperity Gospel available in CD or MP3 in our online store.

The Scientific Evidence for Intelligent Design

  • The Law of Biogenesis states that life only comes from life, life cannot come from non-living matter. Darwinian evolution requires the impossible, that chemical reactions created the first living organisms.
  • DNA (Deoxyribonucleic acid) is found in all living organisms and is essential for life to exist. Yet DNA can only be produced by life. How when no life existed did DNA come into being? Darwinian evolution has no explanation.
  • Science has consistently demonstrated that the Earth is literally fine-tuned for life, meeting dozens of highly restrictive astronomical and physical parameters necessary for life to exist (For example, the distance of the earth from the sun and the earth's force of gravity). The odds of Earth meeting these necessary parameters, by chance, are literally "astronomical".
  • The evidence of irreducible complexity in biology is a serious challenge to Darwinism. These are all or nothing systems, structures so complex that all of their parts must be initially present and working together or else they cannot function. A classic example would be the bacterial flagellum.

For more information on God's incredible design in nature, please check out our selection of Documentary DVD's on creation vs. evolution, available in our online store.

Buddha vs. Jesus Christ

  • Buddha was not concerned with the existence of God. In fact, Buddhism teaches that ultimate reality is Nirvana, or impersonal nothingness. Jesus claimed to be God (John 8:56-58, 10:30) and he revealed himself personally to us (John 1:1-14).
  • Buddha viewed the physical world as an illusion that must be escaped. Jesus created the entire universe and declared it to be good (John 1:3; Genesis 1:31).
  • Buddha’s goal was to eliminate suffering through the elimination of desire. Jesus told us to expect suffering in this world, but said in him we would find peace (John 16:33). He also encouraged us to desire righteousness (Matthew 5:6).
  • Buddha professed a way that humans could be freed from suffering to become one with the impersonal nothingness. Jesus declared, “I am the way” and offered us salvation and eternal life with God (John 14:6; John 3:16-18; John 11:25-26).
  • Buddha believed one must be reincarnated countless times in order to purge their bad karma and experience Nirvana. Jesus paid the penalty for our sins as a gift of grace (Ephesians 2:8-9). At death, all who trust in him will immediately enter his presence and experience eternal life (2 Corinthians 5:1-8; Philippians 1:21-23).

For more information on the religion of Buddhism, please check out Dr. Carlson’s lecture, Buddhism, Hinduism, Yoga and Reincarnation, available in our online store.

Tactfully Sharing Christian Convictions on Controversial Cultural Issues

  • When asked for your opinion on a controversial cultural issue, first ask your questioner, “Do you consider yourself to be an open-minded person who is tolerant of people who hold different beliefs from yours?”
  • The above question will disarm your discussion partner of ad hominem attacks (calling you names like “bigot”) and force them to engage in a rational discussion of the issue and your beliefs.
  • Explain that all of your personal beliefs as a Christian ultimately rest on three fundamental questions: Is there a God? Has He spoken? And if so, will we obey?
  • Point out that if God exists, and if He’s spoken on a given issue, the only appropriate response from us is obedience.
  • Share what God has revealed as truth on the issue you’re discussing. If your discussion partner protests, remind them that our personal opinions are irrelevant if God exists and if He’s spoken.
  • Offer to examine these fundamental questions with your discussion partner. Continue to point them to the evidence of a Creator who has revealed truth to His creation.

For more helpful tools for sharing your faith, please check out the Apologetics Study Bible for Students, available in our online store.


  • Yoga is a 2,000-year-old discipline originally devised not as an exercise technique, but solely for Hindu religious purposes.
  • Yoga means “yoke” or “union” with the Hindu concept of god. The goal of Yoga is to aid the practitioner in becoming one with the impersonal, monistic-pantheistic god of Hinduism (all is one and all is god). This Hindu worldview is antithetical to biblical Christianity.
  • In one school of Yoga, the practitioner seeks to awaken the Kundalini, the spiritual serpent of light that lies coiled at the base of the spine, so that it might travel up the body’s chakras to ultimately bring the practitioner to enlightenment. This is not exercise, this is occultism.
  • The fact that Yoga has exercise benefits is irrelevant to the question of whether or not a Christian should practice Yoga. There are countless pagan religious activities that have exercise benefits (ex. Shamanistic spirit dances, Islam’s circumambulation of the Kaaba, etc.), but as Christians we do not engage in them because we understand their unbiblical nature.
  • As Christians we are called to honor God with our bodies (1 Corinthians 6:19-20) and to be salt and light to the world (Matthew 5:13-16). These admonitions do not cease to be relevant when we enter the doors of our local gym to burn some calories.
  • There are many forms of exercise, including stretching, that have nothing to do with pagan, occult practices like Yoga. Christians would be wise to consider such alternatives.

For more information on Yoga and the Hindu worldview, please check out the documentary DVD, Yoga Uncoiled: From East to West, available in our online store.