Each Wednesday I publish one of my earlier columns that I hope will be informative, instructive, inspiring, and maybe infuriating. The following column was published in 2012.
Every time Cato the Elder (born 234 B.C.) spoke to the Roman Senate, whatever the subject, he ended each speech with, “And Carthage [on the coast of North Africa] must be defeated.” After many years, it was.
Likewise, Damascus, Syria is the oldest inhabited city in the world and will be destroyed as was predicted in Isaiah 17:1, “Behold, Damascus is taken away from being a city, and it shall be a ruinous heap.” Is that prophesy about to take place before our eyes on television news?
Flavius Josephus in his Antiquities of the Jews, reveals that Damascus was founded by Uz, the son of Aram. He reports that Nicolaus of Damascus, in the fourth book of his History, says, “Abraham reigned at Damascus, being a foreigner, who came with an army out of the land above Babylon, called the land of the Chaldeans: but, after a long time, he got him up, and removed from that country also, with his people, and went into the land then called the land of Canaan, but now the land of Judea.” That means Damascus was a thriving city by about 2000 B.C. since that was the approximate date of Abraham’s birth.
The almost dry Barada River (Cold River) runs through Damascus and is the same as the Abana River mentioned in relation to Captain Naaman as recorded in II Kings 5:12. In the 1980’s I did a driving tour from Jerusalem to Amman (Jordan) to Damascus to Beirut, Lebanon. I visited Damascus and spent time at the Abana River as well as the street called “Straight” mentioned in relation to the Apostle Paul. The street is two miles long and is now in a very poor area whereas in Paul’s day it was a magnificent thoroughfare lined with columns.
About 85% of Damascus’ citizens (about 2 million) are Sunni Muslims, and there are about 2,000 mosques in the city. The Grand Mosque of Damascus is one of the largest, oldest, and considered one of the holiest sites for Muslims. The site originally had been the Christian Cathedral of St. John and inside the mosque is the shrine of John the Baptist where tradition holds that the head of John is buried although other churches claim a head of the famous prophet and baptizer of Christ! One head was promoted as the head of John as a boy!
Some branches of “Christianity” place an emphasis upon relics that often slides into silliness. In 1881, The New York Times claimed that the monks of two rival French monasteries used to exhibit, in one, the skull of John the Baptist “when he was a boy,” the other his cranium “after he had become a man.” I have seen one of John’s skulls in a mosque in Damascus.
Will we see Damascus totally destroyed? What a tragedy to see this historical and biblical city in total ruins! Will the UN get involved and escalate the disturbance into a catastrophic event? We will soon know the answers.
As ruthless a dictator as his father was, President Bashar al-Assad should be called Bashar the Butcher. While all people of good will want to see him assume room temperature, it is not wise for us to take sides. Those rebels in Syria without a doubt are Muslim extremists. Let them fight their own battles. The choice between the two sides is not a choice between good and evil but between evil and much evil.
The U.S. does not have a horse in this race, but we do abhor the killing of innocent people. While Assad is a vicious dictator, he has permitted Christians to practice their faith and has kept relative peace. If he is deposed, Muslim fanatics will fill his chair. Most reasonable people prefer a sensitive, peaceful conservative but in the real world that is not going to happen. Assad is not a good guy but he is preferable to the alternative. He is a known entity and Syria has not been shelling Jews on the Golan Heights. A new Syrian strongman might break the treaty and the shelling could become a daily event as in the past.
The Syrian opposition is a mixture of fanatics, freedom lovers, and criminal opportunists. Incredibly, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called for supporting them with “humanitarian aid.” We have seen this movie before. Non-thinkers praised the uprisings in Libya, Egypt, etc., and now we realize that we got much more than we wanted. Radical Muslims have been enabled and are now in control. Sharia law will be forced on the people in all Muslim-dominated nations.
Russia, China, and Iran are backing Syria’s dictator while Saudi Arabia is opposed to him and supports a new government in Syria, hoping that it will not be as friendly to Iran.
When former Saudi King Abdul-Aziz ibn Saud was on his deathbed, he warned his sons to “keep your eye on Syria” since anything good for Syria is considered bad for Saudi. While both Syria and Saudi Arabia are Muslim, the Saudis are of the fanatical Wahhabi sect plus it is the location of Mecca and Medina and the birthplace of Mohammed. There are no churches of any kind in Saudi Arabia and even other Muslim sects such as the Shiites are without mosques in most major areas! Syria is more secular than Saudi Arabia but Sunni Muslims are the majority religious group in both countries.
Fanatical, committed Muslims are dangerous, devious, and deceitful people and we are fools to waltz into the crossfire. The free world should permit these countries to work out their own differences, remove their own totalitarian leaders, and worship however they choose. The U.S. can cheer the good guys (better guys) but we don’t have the money, personnel, or authority to get involved.
Damascus will be destroyed and while that will be a major disaster, it is more preferable than Dallas. And don’t be deceived, if those on the streets of Damascus have their way, it will be Dallas.
Copyright 2013, Don Boys, Ph.D.
Fact, Fraud or Faith?
by Don Boys, Ph.D.
Only an uninformed fanatic says that evolution or creation can be proved scientifically. Christians believe in creationism because we believe in the veracity of the Bible but we also have scientific evidence to support our position. In every debate I’ve had with evolutionary scientists, the arrogant, asinine accusation is made, “Well, evolution is scientific while creationism is religion.” Evolution is about as scientific as a voodoo rooster plucking ceremony in Haiti. Almost.