Sunday, February 28, 2016

Book Preview: "Answering Jihad: A Better Way Forward"

I've got a review copy of a book, so some of you might find this interesting.

Two years ago you might have seen Nabeel Qureshi's book Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus. If you didn't read it, it was an American Muslim's story of finding Christ by trying to commit himself to Muslim Apologetics. Quereshi graduated medical school, but took up the path of Christian apologetics afterwards. In the entirety of his time doing so, he's been getting lots of questions about jihad and radical Islam. Apparently he's been rather demure on the topic, because it's kind of a hot issue.

The tumult of the last year was evidently too much for him, and he decided to take up the topic in writing. In fact, he wrote a book on it in three weeks, Answering Jihad: A Better Way Forward.
But was it true? After years of investigation, I had to face the reality. There is a great deal of violence in Islam, even in the very foundations of the faith, and it is not all defensive. Quite to the contrary, if the traditions about the prophet of Islam are in any way reliable, then Islam glorifies violent jihad arguably more than any other action a Muslim can take. - My Fork In The Road - An excerpt from Answering Jihad.
Qureshi's target audience for this is Christians, but some of the material could be useful to wider audiences. The book is presented in three parts. In the first part, he discusses the nature and historical basis for jihad, how it relates to the Quran, the Hadiths, and Muhammad's life. In the second part, he talks about the modern development of radical Islam and the basis of Islamic violence, both against the West and against fellow Muslims. In the third part, he explores jihad in the Juedo-Christian context: Whether Muslims and Christians worship the same God, comparing the teachings of Jesus to those of Muhammad, Old Testament warfare in comparison to jihad, and so on.

The conclusion to the book, though, is a call to answer jihad the way Jesus would have: In love, even a self-sacrificing love.

I enjoyed it, although it was a very fast read. Qureshi admits the book is a primer, and he does recommend resources throughout for exploring certain topics in greater depth. Still, if someone wanted a book with good answers for various questions about Islam, radical Islam in particular, the book would be a great resource.

The book is only available for pre-order at the moment, but if you pre-order the book, you get access to bonus materials, including videos of Nabeel discussing various chapters of the book in greater depth.
This conclusion led me to a three-pronged fork in the road. Either I could become an apostate and leave Islam, grow apathetic and ignore the prophet, or become “radicalized” and obey him. The alternative of simply disregarding Muhammad’s teachings and continuing as a devout Muslim was not an option in my mind, nor is it for most Muslims, since to be Muslim is to submit to Allah and to follow Muhammad. Apostasy, apathy, or radicalization; those were my choices… - My Fork In The Road - An excerpt from Answering Jihad.
Later on, I'll have a full review of the book here, but for now you can (and should!) explore the Answering Jihad website for more info on the book.

Saturday, February 06, 2016

Sentinels of the Multiverse Fate RPG - Character Building

Last year, I ran a six part RPG for my gaming group set in the world of the Sentinels of the Multiverse.  In the first post, I explained how and why I chose Fate Accelerated as the system for running the game. In this part, I want to explore the rules I used for building characters.
There's a lot of options to choose from. Thankfully, Fate is a flexible system.

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Sentinels of the Multiverse RPG - Fate Edition

If you've never played Sentinels of the Multiverse, I highly recommend it. It's a cooperative game in which a group of superheroes take down villains using powers and cards in their decks. The game takes place in the fictional setting of Sentinel Comics, an homage to the best characters and stories in comics. Or, as I like to think of it, it's Marvel and DC shoved together with the serial numbers filed off.
There's a unique story in there, but it's all told in the margins. 
My gaming group loves the game (both the physical game and the electronic adaptation), but when we ended up between RPGs, I thought, wouldn't it be fun to run a game in this setting?

The makers of the game thought so, too, which is why there's a Sentinels RPG in development. Still, there's no indication as to when that's going to be finished, and we wanted to run something now. So why not come up with our own solution?