Why are suicide bombers attacking our cities? Why are shooters invading our workplaces and malls? Why are students attacking speakers at their colleges? Why are there two versions of the truth on the Internet and in the media?
Michael Youssef, popular teacher and Middle Eastern expert, explains in detail what’s troubling today’s world. Aggressive secularism is stripping our nation of the vestiges of truth, as many Christians are browbeaten into silence. What’s ironic is that secularism is actually opening the door to the “might makes right” nature of radical Islam. In a post-truth world, the most powerful voice wins.
What can save us and our children from this chilling future? Michael Youssef, in this groundbreaking book, shows how we can win the war against aggressive secularism, beat back the threat of radical Islam, and build a brighter future for both ourselves and the next generation.
Be prepared for the times in which we live. Understand what’s happening. Stand up for a brighter and hope-filled future for our children.
|Publisher:||Tyndale House Publishers|
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About the Author
Michael Youssef, Ph.D., is the Founder and President of Leading The Way with Dr. Michael Youssef, a worldwide ministry that leads the way for people living in spiritual darkness to discover the light of Christ through the creative use of media and on-the-ground ministry teams (www.LTW.org). His weekly television programs and daily radio programs are broadcast in 25 languages and seen worldwide, airing more than 12,000 times per week. He is also the founding pastor of The Church of The Apostles in Atlanta, Georgia, with more than 3,000 members. Dr. Youssef was born in Egypt and lived in Lebanon and Australia before coming to the United States. In 1984, he fulfilled a childhood dream of becoming an American citizen. He holds degrees from Moore College in Sydney, Australia, and from Fuller Theological Seminary in California. In 1984, he earned a Ph.D. in social anthropology from Emory University. He has authored more than 30 books, including recent popular titles End Times and the Secret of the Mahdi and Jesus, Jihad and Peace. He and his wife reside in Atlanta and have four grown children and eight grandchildren.
Read an Excerpt
THE TRUTH ABOUT OUR FUTURE
I WAS BORN INTO the Coptic Christian community in Egypt during a time of great social change.
In 1952, just four years after my birth, a group of nationalist military leaders launched a coup d'état, forcing Egypt's king Farouk to flee into exile. The revolutionary government abolished the monarchy, established a republic, and soon ended the British occupation of Egypt (which had begun in 1882). The leaders of the revolution brought both Islamic and socialist dogma into the new Egyptian government — the first time in history, to my knowledge, that you find socialism married to Islam.
Colonel Gamal Abdel Nasser proclaimed himself chairman of the Revolutionary Command Council and prime minister of the Republic in February 1954. Two years later, he was elected president. He became, in effect, the dictator of an Islamist-socialist military regime. Islamism and socialism are both totalitarian political systems that recognize no limits to the authority of the state. Both seek to control every aspect of public and private life.
So it should have come as no surprise when Nasser filled leadership positions in the government, corporations, and banks with army generals. By 1956, he began nationalizing all foreign commercial holdings, beginning with the Anglo-French-owned Suez Canal. He then nationalized foreign banks, including Barclays Bank, where two of my older brothers worked. He also nationalized private Egyptian companies and land holdings, placing large landowners under house arrest.
The small oil distributorship where my father worked was soon taken over by the state. I vividly recall the day my father came home from work, sat us down, and explained that he was out of a job. He had arrived at the office to find army officers standing guard. They told him the company was now the property of the state, and they sent my father and his associates home.
Another consequence of the Islamic- socialist takeover: The lives of Coptic Christians became much more difficult. The Copts' fortunes had risen and fallen over the centuries, but by the early 1900s, Christians and Muslims had been treated equally. Though Islam had been Egypt's dominant religion for more than a millennium, Christianity's roots in Egypt were much deeper. In fact, the Christian faith had thrived in Egypt from the first century on. According to Acts 2:10, Egyptian Jews were at the first Pentecost in Jerusalem, where they witnessed the coming of the Holy Spirit and heard Peter preach. After deciding to follow Christ, they returned to Alexandria and began spreading their new faith. Mark the Evangelist (the writer of the Gospel of Mark) arrived there around AD 49 and became the first bishop of Alexandria. By the second century, Christianity was the majority religion in Egypt, and Alexandria became the leading center of Christian theology for more than two hundred years.
Fast forward to the mid-600s, when Muslim hordes invaded Egypt from Arabia. After gaining control, those early Islamists offered the Christian majority population three alternatives: convert to Islam, die by the sword, or pay the jizya tax and accept their status as dhimmi (non-Muslim citizens of the Islamic state). Wealthy Egyptians could afford to pay the 15 to 25 percent jizya tax. But most of the Coptic Christians were too poor to pay. Not wanting to die by the sword, many pretended to convert to Islam. They outwardly practiced the Muslim religion while inwardly trying to maintain their Christian faith. Believing one thing while practicing another proved too difficult for many of these conquered Christians. The harsh Islamic religion scorched the gospel out of their hearts, like the seeds that fell on stony ground in the Lord's parable of the sower. That's why a majority of Egyptians are Muslims today.
Despite their long presence in Egypt, Christians became second-class citizens after the revolution. They could no longer be heads of banks, corporations, universities, or local governments. Highly educated Christians were relegated to minimum-wage jobs, and less-qualified Muslims were favored for career advancement.
The Nasser regime encouraged an atmosphere of hostility toward Christians. Muslims began harassing Christians without cause. When I was at school or just walking down the street, I was often mocked, insulted, and sometimes beaten by young Muslims who knew I came from a Christian family.
Not all Muslims were hostile to me. I had some very good friends at school who came from moderate, enlightened Muslim homes. (Note: Even now, most Muslims do not fall into the extreme Islamist camp, but these voices of reason are largely muted in our world today.) It was primarily the working-class and illiterate Muslims who made life difficult for me and other Christians. Some parts of town were militant Muslim strongholds, and I didn't dare enter those neighborhoods alone, especially at night.
President Nasser clamped down on churches and Christian organizations. He revived old Ottoman-era laws restricting the rights of the dhimmi (Christians and Jews). For example, no new church could be built without the permission of the head of state. Also, no evangelism or missionary work was permitted outside church walls. These laws are still enforced today.
Nasser increased the number of paid and unpaid informants to the point that you never knew who might be a government spy. In businesses, in schools, and on the street, everyone was afraid to say anything critical of the government. Even at home, people spoke only in whispers, fearing an informant might overhear. The government employed student informants to report on their classmates. My parents warned me to be extremely careful about anything I said at school.
As a young man, I went to libraries and checked out books on American freedom and American ideals. I was fascinated, even mesmerized, by the freedoms Americans enjoyed. I was especially drawn to ideas such as freedom of speech and freedom of religion. At the same time, I worried that someone at the library might report to the government the kinds of books I was checking out. Yet I couldn't stop reading and dreaming of America.
WHY I CHERISH FREEDOM
In 1977, I realized my dream and moved to the United States; in 1984, I achieved my goal of becoming a citizen. My early years living under a socialist dictatorship, immersed in a hostile Muslim culture, gave me a perspective on our American freedoms that many native-born Americans don't have. In my heart, I was an American long before I became a citizen. I had yearned to be an American years before I ever reached these shores.
After arriving here, I was dismayed to see how many Americans had so little regard for their own history and the blessings of freedom they enjoyed. People who had lived in America all their lives didn't understand what a privilege it was to live here and to be free to speak their minds, to vote, and to openly share their faith. Too many Americans took freedom for granted. Having grown up under Islamo-socialist totalitarianism, that's something I'll never do.
Why do so many people around the world dream of coming to America? Why don't people dream of finding a better life in Venezuela? Or Iran? Or North Korea? Or Saudi Arabia? Because there is no freedom in those countries, nor economic opportunity, the great by-product of freedom. America attracts immigrants because America offers liberty.
One foundational American freedom is the ability to speak the truth without fear of punishment or arrest. At one time, that freedom was a fact ofAmerican life, as fixed and unassailable as Mount Rushmore. Today, that freedom is under assault as never before. There is a real possibility we may lose that freedom altogether. Some examples:
Example 1: Former Georgetown University law professor and gay rights activist Chai Feldblum helped draft federal legislation on sexual orientation. She is guided by the notion that whenever gay rights come in conflict with First Amendment religious liberty, the First Amendment must give way. She once told an interviewer, "I'm having a hard time coming up with any case in which religious liberty should win."
Example 2: After the deadly December 2, 2015, mass shooting by two Islamists at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, California (fourteen dead, twenty-two wounded), many Christians offered their thoughts and prayers on social media. The secular left responded with a scathing backlash.
Arthur Delaney and Sam Stein, writing for the Huffington Post, said, "Every time multiple people have been gunned down in a mass shooting, all these officials can seemingly do is rush to offer their useless thoughts and prayers." Washington Post columnist Gene Weingarten tweeted, "Dear 'thoughts and prayers' people: Please shut up and slink away. You are the problem, and everyone knows it." Daily Kos founder Markos Moulitsas tweeted, "How many dead people did those thoughts and prayers bring back to the life?" Journalist Andrew Husband went even further, posting an ugly, obscene comment directed at those who pray after a tragedy. Clearly, we have turned a corner in our culture if offers of prayer are met with howls of derision and hostility.
Example 3: During the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, the gay activist group Equality Forum held an event to celebrate the Supreme Court decision imposing recognition of same-sex marriage on all fifty states. The organizers also discussed future plans for advancing the gay agenda. One participant, Gautam Raghavan of the Gill Foundation, made it clear that they believe "gay rights" should always supersede the First Amendment: "I want to be careful that we don't say there is a kind of balance between equality [i.e., gay rights] and religious freedom."
Other issues discussed at the event included plans to impose transgender bathroom laws nationwide, promote gay sex education in public schools, and withdraw Title IX funding from religious schools that oppose the gay agenda. So expect the gay-rights assault on First Amendment freedom to intensify.
Example 4: Professor Mark Tushnet teaches constitutional law at Harvard Law School. A few months after the death of conservative Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia, Tushnet wrote a blog post declaring victory over conservatives: "The culture wars are over; they lost, we won. ... For liberals, the question now is how to deal with the losers in the culture wars. That's mostly a question of tactics. My own judgment is that taking a hard line ('You lost, live with it') is better than trying to accommodate the losers. ... (And taking a hard line seemed to work reasonably well in Germany and Japan after 1945.)"
I could list many more examples — of Christian bakers, florists, and photographers being forced by the government to violate their conscience and provide services to same-sex weddings; of Christian businesses being forced to pay for abortion-inducing drugs for their employees; of Christian parents being told by school districts that they have no right to homeschool their children (most recently in the San Benito High School District in California in 2016).
The First Amendment guarantees our right to speak God's truth — but our First Amendment freedoms are under a sustained and determined assault by the secular left. We live in a world that rejects the very notion of verifiable truth. The pundits and social critics of our age have, in fact, declared the death of objective truth. Following the 2016 election, Washington Post columnist Amy B. Wang observed,
It's official: Truth is dead. Facts are passé....
Oxford Dictionaries has selected "post-truth" as 2016's international word of the year, after the contentious "Brexit" referendum and an equally divisive U.S. presidential election caused usage of the adjective to skyrocket, according to the Oxford University Press.
The dictionary defines "post-truth" as "relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief."
Truth no longer matters to many of the people around us. Secularists elevate subjective opinion over objective truth. Facts have been replaced by emotions. Those who stand firm for God's truth are widely mocked and condemned. Yet God still calls you and me to take a stand for His truth in a world that despises truth.
Journalists used to try, at least, to present the news fairly and objectively. Old-school journalist Ted Koppel, who hosted ABC's Nightline for twenty-five years, decried the loss of factual, unbiased reporting in an op-ed he wrote for the Washington Post in 2010. He lamented the death of "a long-gone era of television journalism, when the networks considered the collection and dissemination of substantive and unbiased news to be a public trust." He criticized MSNBC anchor-commentator Keith Olbermann, who "draws more than 1 million l ike-minded viewers to his program every night precisely because he is avowedly, unabashedly and monotonously partisan. ... While I can appreciate the financial logic of drowning television viewers in a flood of opinions designed to confirm [networks'] own biases, the trend is not good for the republic."
Olbermann fired back the next day, blaming journalists like Koppel for "worshiping before the false god of utter objectivity. ... The kind of television journalism he eulogizes, failed this country because when truth was needed, all we got were facts — most of which were lies anyway. The journalism failed, and those who practiced it failed, and Mr. Koppel failed."
Koppel stood his ground, defining objective reporting as giving people "enough information that you can make intelligent decisions of your own." He went on to warn that intensely partisan cable news shows and talk radio programs were dividing America into hostile partisan camps.
Yet even Ted Koppel could not have foreseen how bitterly divided America would be today. A deep ideological rift separates the American people because both sides are being fed a steady diet of venomous emotions, rage and hate, character assassination, extreme opinions, advocacy journalism, and violent i mages — all mislabeled as "news." Many reporters don't care about the truth any more, and neither do most news consumers. We just want programs that confirm our biases.
Likewise, many of our public universities are no longer devoted to objective truth and learning. Many have become factories for brainwashing students in "politically correct" ideas. Students are not trained to be wise and well-informed but are simply indoctrinated into the party line. They graduate knowing little about the classics, the humanities, economics, or history. But they know who their political and ideological enemies are.
The erosion of a respect for truth has been going on for decades. In 1987, activist Jesse Jackson — who was running for the Democratic presidential nomination — joined student protesters at Stanford University as they chanted, "Hey, hey, ho, ho, Western Civ has got to go!" And the Stanford administration yielded to the demands of the activists, dropping the Western Civilization requirement from their catalog. Homer, Plato, Augustine, and Thomas Aquinas disappeared from the list of required texts. Students at one of the greatest universities in the world were cut off from their history, their culture, and their heritage of great thinking and truth.
In recent years, the attack on truth in general — and biblical truth in particular — has accelerated. Most heartbreaking of all, some so-called "evangelical" leaders are tossing biblical truth overboard, stripping Scripture of its authority and replacing objective truth with so-called "narrative." Certain leaders no longer view the Bible as God's inspired and authoritative Word but as a collection of comforting and instructive stories.
One formerly evangelical leader complains that orthodox, conservative Christianity has "shown a pervasive disdain for other religions of the world," whose members we should view "not as enemies but as beloved neighbors, and whenever possible, as dialogue partners and even collaborators."
Although Jesus was a master at listening and asking questions to get to people's real needs, He never compromised the truth. He never said, "Collaborating with other religions will set you free." He said, "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free" (John 8:31-32, emphasis mine). Truth comes from the words of Jesus, and only His truth will set us free.
Yes, we should love Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, atheists, and people of all religions and worldviews. We must reach out to them with the good news of Jesus Christ, empathizing with them and listening to their concerns and needs. But we can never become partners or collaborators with falsehood.
Excerpted from "The Hidden Enemy"
Copyright © 2018 Michael Youssef.
Excerpted by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 The Truth About Our Future 1
Chapter 2 The Truth be Hanged 19
Chapter 3 What America Is-And Isn't 39
Chapter 4 Secularism: The Enemy Within 55
Chapter 5 Finding the Truth in a Post-Truth World 73
Chapter 6 Will Political Islam Destroy Western Civilization? 103
Chapter 7 Illusion and Delusion-Or Truth? 129
Chapter 8 Is God's Judgment Inevitable? 155
Chapter 9 Action Agenda: You Can Make a Difference 177
Epilogue: The Evangelist and the Terrorist 195
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
What’s going on in our world? Dr. Youssef, a social and cultural expert, explains in detail the destructive forces tearing our world apart. Agressive secularism is stripping our nation of truth, as many Christians are browbeaten into silence. What can save us from this chilling future? The author shows how we can win the war. The Hidden Enemy: Aggressive Secularism, Radical Islam and the Fight for Our Future peaked my interest simply because our nation and our people are under attack, religious persecution is on the rise and people are afraid to voice their opinion for fear of offending others. This book was quite an eye-opener. The author shares his own personal testimony of growing up in Egypt during civil unrest and tensions which have existed between Christians and Muslims. Every Christian should read this book and completely understand that we are slowly losing our freedoms. “They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen.” Everyone’s eyes should be on Jesus and no one else. Romans 1:25 NLT