Welcome back, listeners. Today is Wednesday, March the 22nd. I'm Ryan Hill.
I'm John Galantis. And you're listening to Clear View Today with Dr. Abbadon Shah, the daily show that engages mind and heart for the gospel of Jesus Christ. You can visit us online at ClearViewTodayShow.com. If you have any questions for Dr. Shah or suggestions for future episodes, send us a text at 252-582-5028. You can also email us at contact at ClearViewTodayShow.com.
That's right. You guys can help us keep this conversation going by supporting the podcast, sharing it online, leaving us a good review on iTunes, Spotify, anywhere you get your podcasting content from. We're going to leave a few links in the description below so you can do just that.
You know what else you can leave them with? What's that? The verse of the day. Oh, let's do it.
I got, what is it? Psalm 14, 21. He who despises his neighbor sins, but he who has mercy on the poor, happy is he. This is, again, this is similar to the verse that we talked about yesterday in yesterday's episode, but God calls us to look outside of ourselves. You know, we are set up almost for failure because of our society, because of the culture that we grew up in. It forces us to look at ourselves, to be self-focused, to be self-centered.
I mean, you think about it like My Profile, the For You page, the algorithm that syndicates content just for you. But God has called us to look outside of ourselves and to those around us, specifically those who are hurting, those who are poor, those who are in need. And to meet those needs as a manifestation of his love in the world. Yeah, I think that's one of the best ways that we have to thank God for his kindness and for his goodness is by sharing those blessings that he's given to us with the people around us. And I like how it says, but he who has mercy on the poor, he's the one who's going to be happy. It's not just people who can repay us. It's not just doing favors for people that down the road, they may, you know, pay us back for our kindness or they may be like, hey, I remember when I was down and out, you helped me. And now that I'm a billionaire, I want to help you. Right.
That's kind of the fantasy we build up in our heads. But it's the people who can never repay us for our kindness that God is saying, this is how you can thank me. This is how you can show your obedience to me is by spreading that gospel and that good news to them.
Yeah, absolutely. I did something yesterday that... Oh, by the way, hey, happy birthday. Thank you. Happy birthday. Today, if you didn't know that, today is John's birthday, March the 22nd. Today is my birthday.
You are? 31. 31.
I can't even be like the whole... If you're not 30, you're in your 30s. Yeah, now I'm in my 30s. So, like, when you turn 30, it's kind of cute because then you can be like, oh, no, why? Why am I in my 30s? Now you're 31, you're just like, what can I say? It's just, it's like 31 is more defeated than 30. Because 30 you can still gripe and people will be like, I remember my 30.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. But then it's 31, it's just like, I'm nothing now. No, here's the thing, man. Here's what, I'm 34. So I'm a little bit further into the 30s track than you are.
Not much. But my 30s are much more enjoyable than my 20s. That's what everyone says. Yeah, I feel like I just have a better understanding of who I am, of how things work, of just how to, like, navigate life. Yeah.
I feel like I just, you know, a little more settled. We'll see. We'll see what happens. It's not obvious to me that I'm not going to, like, I don't know, leap off a tall building or something. Don't do that. I'm not going to do that.
Don't do that. But, you know, we went out yesterday and Ellie wanted to go out and do, like, a spa day, like the massage, the sauna, all that stuff. And so there's this place in Durham, North Carolina, and they have what's called a deprivation tank. I've always heard about these things.
Oh, yeah, I've heard about these. And you basically, it's this tank, it's like a shower, but it's horizontal. You lay down horizontal and it's like a tank of, like, salt water, like you're in the Dead Sea or something. And you just float on your back and your ears are under the water, so it, like, blocks out all sound.
And then they turn off the lights. There's, like, a light in there, but you're supposed to be just immersed in darkness, like, complete pitch black darkness and complete silence, and it, like, deprives you of the senses. So you, like, it's supposed to be, like, you can relax, you might hallucinate. I don't know what it's supposed to be, but I didn't hallucinate. I saw, like, shapes and colors and stuff. You know when you close your eyes real hard and you, like, squint? Yeah, you got those, like, abstract things moving around. Yeah, I did see some of that. Like, it can get kind of scary, I'm not going to lie.
When I first turned the lights off, I was scared. Yeah. And then I was, like, let me orient – because the way it is, it's like – Do you control the lights in there? Mm-hmm. There's, like, a little button on the wall, and there's, like, a little speaker if you need help, but there's, like, a button, and you can – Help?
Yeah, help, I'm having existential crisis. There's, like, a little button and there's, like, a little blue LED light. So you don't have to be immersed in darkness. But I wanted to try it. Yeah. So I – the first time I did it, I was, like, wow, it is dark.
I don't like this. So I turned the light on, took some deep breaths, because you can't hear anything either. Right.
Yeah. Your ears are under the water. And then you – so I turned it off, and then I would get scared, turn it back on. I did that for about maybe three or four times. Then I was, like, okay, I'm going to just be in darkness.
So I turned it off. My head – the way it is, it's like a big – it's like a huge shower, but the ceiling slants down like this. So my head was up underneath this shallow part, and, like, so my nose was kind of touching the top, like, the ceiling. So I was, like – see, I was sitting there, and I felt, like, if there's an earthquake, this is going to crush my face instantly. So I turned my head around so my head was by the door, and, like, the ceiling's really tall. Yeah. So it's not, like, it's just a coffin.
At one side it is, but the other side is really tall. So I just floated there for, like, 15 to 20 minutes, and I was, like, this is relaxing, and this is fun once you kind of let go and relax, but I'm done. It was that crazy thing where it's, like, you ever been so relaxed in your bed, like, you're, like, if I move my arm right now, I'm sure it'll be the most difficult thing I ever do. Yep. That's how it was. Yep. So I think on that front it was kind of fun, but I doubt I would do it again. Interesting.
Yeah. I'd be interested to give it a try. I think it's something you should try once, because it is super, super, super relaxing. Like, I was, like, all I'm going to do is I'm just going to lift my arm. I'm just going to lift my arm straight up, and my brain was, like, no, it's too heavy. Yeah, I can't do that. It's too heavy.
Definitely can't do that. But it was fun. It was a fun birthday.
Nice. So we have an episode planned for you. We have an excellent episode planned for you guys today. What are we talking about? Aside from this being John's birthday, it's also the first day of Ramadan. And as many of you guys may know, Dr. Shah's father was born into a Muslim family before he converted into Christianity. So we're going to talk a little bit about that on the episode, but I think we have a user-submitted question.
Yes, we did have a question come in from Catherine S. This is going to be a fun one. If you could only eat one type of candy for the rest of your life, what would it be? Oh, I know Dr. Shah does like candy. He likes candy.
I'm trying to think of what type he likes. I honestly don't know. I don't really see him. He's not a chocolate guy. Yeah. He's like a sour guy, I guess. I don't know.
I know that he likes the banana runs. Yeah, that's true. But I don't know that's what he would choose as the one. As the one for the rest of your life. I guess we've got to find out.
We'll have to see. If you guys have any questions or suggestions for new topics, text us to 252-582-5028 or visit us online at cleaviewtodayshow.com. We're going to get Dr. Shah and we'll be right back. Hey there, listeners. I'm John Galantis.
And I'm Ellie Galantis. And we just want to take a quick second and talk to you about Dr. Shah's and Nicole's book, 30 Days to a New Beginning, daily devotions to help you move forward. You know, this is actually the second book in the 30 Days series. And the whole point of this devotional is to help us get unstuck from the ruts of life. You know, when it comes to running the race of life, it matters how you start, but a bad start doesn't ultimately determine how you finish the race. You can have a good finish even with a bad start. And that's where this book comes in. No matter who you are or where you are in life, you're going to get stuck.
Instead of going out and buying some gadget or some planner, like I know I've done several times. I know that's right. 30 Days encourages you to find your fresh start in God's Word. Life doesn't have a reset button, but our God is a God who does new things.
His mercies are new every day, which means every day is a new chance for you to start over. You can grab 30 Days to a New Beginning on Amazon.com. We're going to leave a link in the description box below. And if you already have the book, let us know what you think about it.
That's right. Send us a text, 252-582-5028. Share what God has done in your life through this devotional. Hey, maybe we'll even read your story on the air. Ellie, you ready to get back to the show? Let's do it.
All right. Welcome back to Clearview Today with Dr. Abbadon Shaul, the daily show that engages mind and heart for the gospel of Jesus Christ. You can visit us online at ClearviewTodayShow.com. If you have any questions or suggestions for future episodes, send us a text at 252-582-5028. That's right. And if this is your first time ever tuning into the show, we want to welcome you, let you know who's talking to you today. Dr. Abbadon Shaul is a PhD in New Testament textual criticism, professor at Carolina University, author, full-time pastor, and the host of today's episode. You can find all his work on his website at AbbadonShaul.com.
That's right. Dr. Shaul, how are you doing today? I'm doing very well.
I hope you guys are. It's hump day again. It's hump day. I say it every Wednesday. You say it every Wednesday.
Because there's not any other cute nicknames for Wednesday. That's true. Yeah. And the reason we don't usually have, like, cutesy names, though. That's true.
Yeah, that's true. You've got Monday fun day, but that's... No, it's Sunday fun day. Sunday fun day. Monday is not a... Well, it is fun day for us.
It's fun for us. For most people. Well, today, other than being Wednesday, other than being hump day, today is actually the first day of Ramadan. And that might be something that our listeners may not expect us to talk about on a Christian talk radio show. But it's significant because your dad was a Muslim. Right.
That's right. And I remember him talking about that time of the year where they would celebrate Ramadan. Ramadan is a time of fasting.
It falls under those five pillars of Islam, right? And it's like the entire month. And in the Muslim calendar, it sort of falls on the ninth month, according to the lunar calendar. And the entire month from sun up to sundown, they fast. In fact, they also abstain from smoking or sex and all those kind of things as well.
So it's just a day to set aside to not eat or drink. And the very strict ones will not even swallow their spittle. Really?
Yeah. They will not even swallow their spit. And I remember growing up in India, I had friends that were Muslims.
And once in a while, they would swallow and it would be like, ah, and they would get angry and frustrated. Oh, wow. Wow. So I remember seeing that.
They were pretty strict on that. Wow. So growing up in India, maybe you can kind of shed some light on this, because I think just from hearing you talk about it, it makes sense. But I feel like the average person would not associate the Muslim faith with being in India. Right. I would think, OK, India, that's where I guess Hindus are. Right.
Right. That's where Muslims are or where Islam is. Well, Islam came to India, I would say, very early on. But it came with full force in the, I would say, maybe the 13th, 14th century with the coming of these, how do I say this, they call them Mongols, right? And they came and they conquered India. And then at times, you know, the Hindu kingdoms or the local Indian kingdoms rose in power and they kind of fought back, but then they came back again. And there's an old saying, I don't remember the number anymore, it's been a while since I, I should have looked it up before the show, but apparently this one Muslim king who conquered India, and each time he did, he took away more gold from India. And so that's the Muslim impact. And then, of course, Akbar, Shah Jahan, Aurangzeb, Shah Jahan is the one who built the Taj Mahal for his wife. And then my own ancestors from my dad's side, of course, were invited by the dynasty of Shah Jahan to come and settle in India.
And they did, and they became even more powerful than Akbar's dynasty, and they were to the south. So, yeah. So is it, is it accurate then to say that your dad was born into this Muslim faith?
Because it's not very common. I mean, I guess in Christian families, you would say, well, that person's born Christian, but we know it as being a Christian. You don't, you're not born saved, you're not born a Christian, you become a Christian later. Right. So with the Muslim faith? Muslims know you're born into it. Okay.
Yeah. You're born into it. That's a way of life. That's what you, that's what makes you a Muslim.
You're born into it. Okay. Now, are Muslims also converted? Yeah. I mean, most times it was done with a sword, you know, convert or else, or you'll pay the tax or whatever. And then, you know, some converted, some didn't, some were clandestine in the conversion, like on the surface. Oh yeah, we're Muslims, but reality, they were not. Right. So it was a lot of those kinds of things happen in India.
I would say about 20% of the population in India is Muslim. And my dad's part of the family are, we're more to the south, you know, like I talked about the ruling class. So when he left his faith, I mean, he also left his inheritance. He was taken off the family tree, so lost everything. But look what he gained. He gained. He gained the whole world.
That's true. I know we've talked about your dad's story on the show before, but for the benefit of our listeners, maybe those who are tuning in for the first time, can you give them kind of like a brief rundown of that process of what it was like for your dad to go from Islam to Christianity? Oh, absolutely. So my dad, you know, grew up in a pretty educated Muslim home and didn't lack anything education wise, opportunities, relationship, and it was already laid out for him. The whole life was laid out for him.
Just live the life and you don't have to worry about a thing. And through a series of crises that he faced in his life, you know, his mom died and then, of course, he saw his grandfather praying and asked him or told him, you know, God has a great place for you in heaven and his grandfather had tears in his eyes and said, there's no guarantee that I'll be in heaven. Then of course, there was a time where he was in college and lightning passed from one window to another and hit a tree.
So that happened as well. So those kinds of things really caused him to think if there is a God, who is it? And so he stepped out into the under the open sky and made that prayer and said, you know, if you are there, whoever you are, if you show yourself to me, I will follow you the rest of my life.
Yeah. You said something there that kind of just jarred my brain and I'm still kind of putting this thought together. So it may not come out, but you don't hear Christians say that kind of thing.
You don't hear Christians say, okay, I just had an experience with God. Could it be Allah? Could it be this Hindu God? Could it be? Because there's an assurance.
Yeah. There's a comfort that other religions don't offer. There's a, cause like you were just saying with your, I guess it would be your great grandfather. He was like, you know, listen, I hope I'm trying, but there's no guarantee. That's what I think kind of led to your father having that thought like, okay, it's not just Allah.
I want to know you. It's which one is it? Because now I don't really know. I don't have that assurance without knowing the true God. He wouldn't have ever had that. Right.
Right. And so, you know, he stepped out to figure out which God is this. And he tried Hinduism, he tried Buddhism, he tried communism, but then finally somebody gave him a Bible or he bought a Bible and began to read it. And that's where he found salvation. He found something very distinct. Now keep in mind, he was told that the Bible is a Western creation. You know, these people in the Europeans had put this Bible together to dominate the world. Kind of like kind of weird.
Like how exactly is that possible? Our first core doctrine is that we are a Bible believing church. And so think about that. 1,500 years ago when Muhammad is writing this book, right, I mean, he addresses the Christians as people of the book and we are a Bible believing church. We are a book believing church. In a Bible, Bibliosa's book. So we're actually doing it right.
So the question is to all churches, people, pastors out there, are you a people of the book? Yeah. Well, I've said this on the show before, but I think because it's a daily show, there's always new listeners. So I don't mind saying it a few times. You know, one of the ways that you get to know someone's core value just as a person is you question them on something until they say like, why do you like this? Well, because it is this. And you're like, well, but why do you like that?
They get to a point where they can't. So they say, I don't know. I just do. So I remember talking to you once and saying, you know, why textual criticism? Well, because it's important to compare these manuscripts and this and that. And I said, yeah, but I guess why you? And you're like, well, it's because I want to discern the truth. And it's like, well, why?
What is so important about the truth? Anyway, we came to a point where you were like, well, I just love the text. I have a genuine love for the text.
I was like, but why? What do you like about it? And you were like, I just love it. And I think that's a great indicator of a man of the book. I don't know why I love it.
God has given it to me. But my core value as a person is that when it comes to this text, I love it. And I want to devote my life to understanding it and helping other people understand it. And textual criticism is that one discipline that forces you to study the text. Other PhDs and graduate degrees are great.
Don't get me wrong. You study a lot of theology or philosophy or history. But textual criticism is one that you have to look at the text and figure out which is the right and what's wrong and what's added and what's taken away. And you work with that. So that's one of the reasons why I picked textual criticism. Yeah. That's awesome. But going back to the Ramadan, the idea of fasting is done almost with the expectation that God is going to see me fasting and go, OK, all right, here's your reward.
I want us to be clear on that. That's not the Christian fasting, right? Ramida is the word, the Arabic word means intense scorching heat or dryness. It has the idea of you're purging your sins. You're suffering for God.
You're suffering. And by fasting, you are almost forcing God's hand to do what needs to be done. This is one of the five pillars of Islam. And Ramadan, by the way, was there even before the coming of Muhammad. Really? Yeah.
He didn't invent that. It was there among the Arabs. And they continued this thing in their religion of Islam. But Christianity, when we talk about fasting, it's not to atone for our sins or to burn away our sins. This is a time for us to, the self-denial is more for me to focus on God, and to seek his way and to find what is it that he desires from me.
Yeah. I think the way that I've always understood, the way that you've explained it to me is that you take that time. I'm gonna spend an hour eating. This is a way that I can give back to God and spend that hour in prayer. It's not just that I'm not eating.
I'm replacing it with something. If I'm not eating, but I just work through that and I just do my job or I do my hobbies and I'm still not giving that time to God, then I'm just not eating. It's not necessarily fasting.
Yeah. The hunger doesn't make it any more spiritually significant. It's taking that time where you would be doing something else like eating and devoting it to prayer. Right. Or appeasing God by a kind of self-flagellation, beating yourself. So just keep that in mind.
Our fasting is not the same as the Ramadan fasting. People tend to do that, though. People tend to... All the time. They tend to think, if I can show God how miserable I am, that'll show him how devoted I am.
Or how serious I am about this. Some people even do it for weight loss. Like, I'm gonna fast, too. They ask me and I'm like, okay, I guess you want to stop eating and kind of kill two birds with one stone? Yeah. Well, I mean, while I'm doing it for weight loss, I might as well do it. Might as well get some brownie points with God. He'll be happy because God is happy if I just don't eat.
Yeah. So eating is bad. God is also not a divine vending machine. Like you input a prayer or you input fasting, you get a response. That's not the way that it works. Input prayer, output solution. Exactly.
That's not the way it works. Fasting is important in the Christian life. You see in the Old Testament, you see in the New Testament, Jesus fasted, Paul fasted. Jesus even said this kind doesn't come out but by prayer and fasting.
Fasting is important, it's essential, but the mindset behind it is not based on legalism. It is based on a sense of trust in God and a sense of reliance upon him, a sense of intensity. So that word, ramida, meaning intense, yeah, that point is true.
It's a sense of intensity, but not intensity to burn away sins, but intensity to just hang on to God. Yeah. Very different. Yeah.
To devote that time to him. Yeah. Yeah. Like in Ramadan, you don't eat all day or drink or even swallow your spit.
It depends on how intense you are. But at the end of the day, there's food, okay? And so I remember my friends, they're like ready to go home. Yeah. That's all they're thinking about.
They're thinking about food and they gorge themselves. Yeah. Yeah. They gorge themselves. Yeah. With food.
And at the end of the month is the Eid, the festival of breaking the fast where they really eat. So, you know, and that's not what we're doing. Right.
You know? Right. It's not about looking forward to...
It's not about like penance and then looking forward to, okay, I can stop thinking about this now. Yeah. Looking forward to some relief. Yeah. Like finally I get to eat. Yeah. Yeah.
Because then it's just waiting for that time to be over. Yeah. Like if I'm fasting, it's supposed to be this time where I'm giving it back to God, but all I'm thinking about is I can't wait for this to be done so I can get back to my real life.
Yeah. And so he went back to visit his family and he went to his grandmother's place, his mother's mother's place, and didn't realize that it was Eid. It was the day of the breaking of the fast. So he gets there and somehow he's forgotten, just skipped his mind, whatever it is. He gets there and his grandma's like, so good that you're here. So happy.
We're going to, it's a big feast today. Of course. You know that. And he's like, uh, what's going on?
You said what? It was his mother? No, this is his grandmother. His grandmother. Yeah. And he's like, oh my goodness. How do I tell this woman that I cannot eat that food?
Wow. It's going to hurt her feelings. And he had to make some excuse and not eat it and it did hurt her feelings. How long had this been since he, since he left home?
I would say this was probably good five, six years. Okay. So he was a full, he was Christian at this point. Oh yeah. He was Christian. Had been to seminary. He was already pastoring by now. Wow. So he was actually in a nearby town doing a revival meeting or crusade or whatever he was doing. And he's like, I'm going to go see my grandmother.
And he didn't want to eat the food because it was, it was devoted to Allah. Yeah. Yeah. It's, it's, it's, you know, that's, that's conviction though.
That's real conviction because I can't say that me, if I were in that situation that I would be like, no, no, my conviction is too, like, I don't know. Just to make grandma happy. Yeah. I would be like, well, it's, it's rude.
It's kind of a custom. I want to respect people. So I'm going to eat it.
But if you go by the Bible, you know, Paul says that, you know, as long as your conscience doesn't violate you, it's fine to go ahead and eat it because you know where it's coming from kind of thing. But for him, he was not ready for that. Yeah. Yeah. I respect that though. I mean, having, having come out of that, you know, that belief system and devoting himself to Christianity to be able to stand up for that and not just stand up for it, but to stand up to his own family. Well, there's nothing more to me.
There's nothing more respectable than any person, but especially a man who is so at unity with his vision, with his cause, you know, his, his core, his values, someone who's so sold out that, Hey, listen, I know, and it's not like, whatever, I don't care if it hurts the family. No, that's going to hurt her and that's going to hurt me. But I got to. Yeah. And by the way, on a purely physical perspective, the food is really good. Oh, I can imagine.
I can imagine. Like pulao, biryani, beef. I mean, it's, you know, this is like Persian type cooking mixed with Indian cooking. It's like, like David over there is like, his mouth is already watering. It's like drooling over there. Get a little tissue, David. I've had Indian food before, but I don't know if I've ever had yours.
I would like to try that. Yeah, you would. What do you say, David?
It's something else. I would say if I were there, if I were with your dad, I would stand with him in solidarity. But if I were just there meeting like that side of the family, I'd be like, God, you know my heart. I don't believe anything. But I'm eating this clear. My conviction is be not angry with your servant, oh my Lord. I'm going to get my lamb biryani, I'll tell you that.
My convictions are clear and so is my plate. Lamb, goads, man. No pork, by the way. No pork.
No pork. So, so amazing. So respectable. I love hearing stories about your dad. I never got the chance to meet him, but I love hearing stories about your dad, standing up for his faith.
Just that bravery, that conviction that he had, it's inspiring. Amen. Thank you. That's awesome. Thank you. If you guys enjoyed today's topic, if you have suggestions for future topics, let us know by sending us a text at 252-582-5028.
You can also visit us online at ClearViewTodayShow.com and you can partner with us financially on that same website. There's a button there for you to click donate. Every gift that you give goes not only to building up this radio show, but countless other ministries for the gospel of Jesus Christ.
You know, sometimes people ask me, you know, well, what do you do? How do you pray for Muslims? This is a great time to pray for Muslims during Ramadan. Why?
Why? Because they are in this mode of seeking and what we found and what missionaries and pastors and even my own dad have reported is that during this time, they're the most open to receive the gospel. Now you can't just like go and say, Hey, I'm going to tell you the gospel, right?
That may not work, but pray that they'll come to know Christ because what we're finding is during this time, many have dreams about Christ, calling them to the gospel. Wow. Wow.
So, so this is, I want to emphasize that before we leave this show is that this is a great time to be praying for people to come to know Christ and it'll blow your mind how he will get in touch with them. Beautiful. Yes. Like, Oh, wow. That's, that's really cool. Like God, Jesus speaking to them in dreams.
We do have a question for you, Dr. Shah, that was submitted by one of our users, Catherine S, one of our listeners, I should say. We mentioned this at the top of the episode, but Catherine writes in, if you could only eat one type of candy for the rest of your life, what would it be? Oh boy. I wonder if they have candy during Ramadan, like desserts and stuff. Oh yeah. They have desserts too. Oh yeah? Yeah. They have desserts too. Yeah.
It's like a Cadbury fruit and nut. Ooh. Oh. Yeah.
I don't know if they ever had that. Yeah. I've heard of it. It's pretty cool.
It's an odd choice, but it's good. Yeah. That's good. Okay. Well, there you go, Catherine. Hope you enjoyed the answer. We love you guys. We'll see you in the next one. Bye.
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