Friday, May 24, 2019

A Christian’s Public Letter to Dr. Paul Dhinakaran about his False Prophecy of the 2019 Indian Elections


            Dear Dr. Paul Dhinakaran,

            Your prophecy about the 2019 Indian elections failed miserably. As a fellow Christian, I believe I am well within my rights to take issue with your prophecy, for you boldly claimed that God was the source of your prophecy.1 I believe God could not have been the source of your failed prophecy.

            You are a highly esteemed evangelist. Scores of Christians consider you as a man of God. Even a large group of my relatives and my Christian friends glorify your image and your ministry. To them, you are their supreme Pastor and leader.

            There are more than 200,000 views for your prophetic video on YouTube. Tens of thousands have watched your prophecy and many more may have heard about your prophecy.

            Sir, I reiterate that your prophecy regarding the elections in India failed. Neither has God quietened the present leaders nor has HE established young leaders in authority. The same leadership will continue ruling India for a second successive term.

            Please explain why your prophecy failed. You owe it to your ardent followers, and the Christian community, at large. If you still believe that God spoke through you, then do enlighten us as to how and why God’s Words were not fulfilled.

            You have done a great disservice to Historic Christianity. Not that Historic Christianity will be destroyed, but you have empowered the detractors to mock the Historic Christian faith. Your failed prophesy has provided the detractors of Christianity further ammunition to continue their mocking.

            You have confused many Christians through your prophecies.

            Millions of Christians do not know their Bible. They merely listen to preachers like you. They think your words are the very words of God.

            They may wonder why God erred. These rather naive Christians could think that God’s plan for India has failed. Some of them may even think that the finite man has defeated the infinite God’s plan for India.

            They may also think that God has no control over India. But every sincere student of the Bible knows that God is in control over everything, India included. Of course, God may allow certain perplexing developments. But in no way can we come to the conclusion that God is not in control. The sovereign God rules over everything.

            Little do these naïve Christians know or realize that God, who is the greatest conceivable being, cannot fail. God cannot err. Whatever the sovereign and supreme God decides will happen, come what may. But, alas, your failed prophecy has placed a barricade in an honest disciple’s growth in Christ.

            Did God change HIS mind?

            Some of your very ardent followers may think that God changed HIS mind after speaking with you. But God is good and HE is just. HE cannot change HIS mind so much so that HE misled you into deceiving HIS people, and in the process shaming you as well.

            But the reality is this. God did not speak through you.

            Failure on your part to acknowledge that God did not speak through you is tantamount to cheating your gullible followers. They believe that God spoke through you.

            But God did not speak with you or through you. You spoke out of your own accord. Period.

            As your brother in Christ, my heart goes out for you and many other false prophets and teachers who are roaming the earth doing a great deal of disservice to the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. I feel for you because the Word of God condemns false teachers/prophets. Here’s an excerpt from 2 Peter 2:

But there were also lying prophets among the people then, just as there will be lying religious teachers among you. They’ll smuggle in destructive divisions, pitting you against each other—biting the hand of the One who gave them a chance to have their lives back! They’ve put themselves on a fast downhill slide to destruction, but not before they recruit a crowd of mixed-up followers who can’t tell right from wrong.
They give the way of truth a bad name. They’re only out for themselves. They’ll say anything, anything, that sounds good to exploit you. They won’t, of course, get by with it. They’ll come to a bad end, for God has never just stood by and let that kind of thing go on…
God is especially incensed against these “teachers” who live by lust, addicted to a filthy existence. They despise interference from true authority, preferring to indulge in self-rule. Insolent egotists, they don’t hesitate to speak evil against the most splendid of creatures. Even angels, their superiors in every way, wouldn’t think of throwing their weight around like that, trying to slander others before God.
These people are nothing but brute beasts, born in the wild, predators on the prowl. In the very act of bringing down others with their ignorant blasphemies, they themselves will be brought down, losers in the end. Their evil will boomerang on them. They’re so despicable and addicted to pleasure that they indulge in wild parties, carousing in broad daylight. They’re obsessed with adultery, compulsive in sin, seducing every vulnerable soul they come upon. Their specialty is greed, and they’re experts at it. Dead souls!...
There’s nothing to these people—they’re dried-up fountains, storm-scattered clouds, headed for a black hole in hell. They are loudmouths, full of hot air, but still they’re dangerous. Men and women who have recently escaped from a deviant life are most susceptible to their brand of seduction. They promise these newcomers freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption, for if they’re addicted to corruption—and they are—they’re enslaved.
If they’ve escaped from the slum of sin by experiencing our Master and Savior, Jesus Christ, and then slid back into that same old life again, they’re worse than if they had never left. Better not to have started out on the straight road to God than to start out and then turn back, repudiating the experience and the holy command. They prove the point of the proverbs, “A dog goes back to its own vomit” and “A scrubbed-up pig heads for the mud.” (2 Peter 2: 1-3, 10-14, 17-22; MSG)
            There are a few Christian friends who are distraught over your failed prophecy. I pray that every Christian and every honest seeker who’s caught in the crossfire of your failed prophesy, the actual election results, and the mocking of the detractors of Historic Christianity would continue to seek the face, the presence and the blessings of the Lord Jesus Christ.

            I do hope and pray that you would do what is good for the sake of the Christian community. I most certainly pray that your ministry would be pleasing and acceptable to the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.

Sincerely,

Rajkumar Richard

Endnotes:

1I refer your prophecy conveyed through a YouTube video entitled “Prophecy 2019 | God's Plan For India | Year of Deliverance | Dr. Paul Dhinakaran.” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MvtVXXl4Vo8)

Website last accessed on 24th May 2019.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

When God Seems So Far Away; How Do We Survive?


            ‘Hiddenness of God’ is an ancient and a complex theme. It is portrayed in subjective and objective questions such as, ‘Where is God when we need HIM the most?’ and ‘Where was God during the Holocaust?’ respectively.

            “Deus absconditus is the Latin phrase that describes this phenomenon—the hidden God,” writes Margaret Manning Shull in an article she authored in RZIM.org.1  

            Trials and tribulations are the existential staple for many people from various faiths. Deliverance from these painful situations may not be in sight for many.

            They say there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel. But the journey towards this light could be so burdensome that death, depression or insanity seems more existentially plausible than comfort, peace, and deliverance.

            Yes, deliverance from pain and misery may not be everyone’s lot. It is most certainly an ardent desire for all, but need not be a reality for everyone reeling under pain.

            But pain and distress are not the only premises emphasizing God’s Hiddenness. True; we yearn for God when we are amidst trials and tribulations. Not only during trials and tribulations, but we yearn for God during other circumstances as well.

            Another article in RZIM.org authored by Margaret Manning Shull explains this situation well, “Why isn’t God more obvious? This question is often asked in many ways and in many contexts, by people of all levels of faith. When prayers go unanswered, why is God silent? When suffering or tragedy strikes, why would God allow this to happen? Why wouldn't God want more people to know God's good news? When all the "evidence" seems to counter the biblical narrative, why doesn't God just give the world a sign? If God was revealed through many wondrous signs and miracles throughout the Bible, why doesn't God act that way today? All of these examples get at the same issue—the seeming "hiddenness" of God.”2

            Hiddenness of God is an ancient theme. The Bible portrays God’s Hiddenness through these verses:

            Why, Lord, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble? (Psalm 10:1, NIV)

            Why do you hide your face and consider me your enemy? (Job 13:24, NIV)

            “But if I go to the east, he is not there; if I go to the west, I do not find him. When he is at work in the north, I do not see him; when he turns to the south, I catch no glimpse of him. (Job 23:8-9).

            Man, then and now, suffers from the same dilemma. He seems to not find God when he needs HIM the most.

            Hiddenness of God is a complex theme. Some Christians who are in pain and suffering seem to have found God’s peace. They may have not necessarily attained deliverance from pain, but they dwell in the peace of God. Other Christians, who are suffering, run helter-skelter trying to find God, which turns into a futile exercise for them.

            Ravi Zacharias often quotes the hymn He Giveth More Grace written by Annie Johnson Flint. Here are the context and the lyrics:3

Annie Johnson Flint, the author of these words, lived a life on this earth full of pain and suffering. She was orphaned as a young girl, lived as an unwelcome burden with her first foster family. However, she finally did find love and acceptance with a new family, only to be orphaned again as a teenager. She suffered many physical afflictions that left her bedridden, incontinent, and in constant pain. And yet she wrote some of the most beautiful, faithful words you’ll find.
“He Giveth More Grace” by Annie Johnson Flint
He giveth more grace as our burdens grow greater,
He sendeth more strength as our labors increase;
To added afflictions He addeth His mercy,
To multiplied trials He multiplies peace.

When we have exhausted our store of endurance,
When our strength has failed ere the day is half done,
When we reach the end of our hoarded resources
Our Father’s full giving is only begun.

Fear not that thy need shall exceed His provision,
Our God ever yearns His resources to share;
Lean hard on the arm everlasting, availing;
The Father both thee and thy load will upbear.

His love has no limits, His grace has no measure,
His power no boundary known unto men;
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus
He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again.
           
            This then is one facet of the complexity that requires greater detail. Some Christians, who are in suffering, find God and thus are able to be at peace with God even during their painful predicament. Some others become angry, bitter, and depressed and are at constant war against God during their painful predicament.

            Dr. Bart Ehrman, an erstwhile Christian, currently an agnostic, departed from the Christian fold because of God’s Hiddenness (especially during suffering). He wrote, “Suffering increasingly became a problem for me and my faith. How can one explain all the pain and misery in the world if God—the creator and redeemer of all—is sovereign over it, exercising his will both on the grand scheme and in the daily workings of our lives? Why, I asked, is there such rampant starvation in the world? Why are there droughts, epidemics, hurricanes, and earthquakes? If God answers prayer, why didn’t he answer the prayers of the faithful Jews during the Holocaust? Or of the faithful Christians who also suffered torment and death at the hands of the Nazis? If God is concerned to answer my little prayers about my daily life, why didn’t he answer my and others’ big prayers when millions were being slaughtered by the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, when a mudslide killed 30,000 Columbians in their sleep, in a matter of minutes, when disasters of all kinds caused by humans and by nature happened in the world?”4

            God’s Hiddenness is real. How do we cope with God’s Hiddenness?

            It may be depressingly difficult to offer an answer to this highly complicated question if this theme was not addressed in the Bible. The Bible, speaking about God’s Hiddenness is tantamount to God acknowledging HIS hiddenness from HIS people.

            A loving, gracious, merciful and a just God who acknowledges HIS hiddenness from HIS people will always reveal HIMSELF to HIS people. In other words, HE will not let HIS people down.

            The key attribute in finding God during our pain and misery is patience. But godly patience is the fruit of the Holy Spirit. So those who remain in Christ even during their trials and tribulations are more likely to be patient.

            How long do we have to be patient for? I have not the least iota of an idea.

            The Bible says, “With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.” (2 Peter 3:8b, NIV).

            Giving God an ultimatum to show up need not work always. Let not man dictate to God as to when HE should show up. This attitude does not work. This attitude will always be to man’s detriment. 

            There is also another possibility – a precarious one at that.

            God may never show up. Even that is within HIS sovereign prerogative. It does not violate any of HIS attributes such as justice, love, mercy or grace.

            The Bible addresses this situation as well.

            Prophet Habakkuk professes faith in God regardless of his circumstances. He affirms his faith in God even if God should allow more suffering and misery, “When the fig tree does not bud, and there are no grapes on the vines; when the olive trees do not produce, and the fields yield no crops; when the sheep disappear from the pen, and there are no cattle in the stalls, I will rejoice because of the Lord; I will be happy because of the God who delivers me! The sovereign Lord is my source of strength. He gives me the agility of a deer; he enables me to negotiate the rugged terrain.” (Habakkuk 3:17-19, NET).

            Trusting in God even when we do not find HIM during our trials and tribulations is indeed a glorious faith. By trusting in God regardless of our circumstances we echo this wonderful verse, “Will not the judge of the whole earth do what is right?” (Genesis 18:25b, NET).

Endnotes:

1https://www.rzim.org/read/a-slice-of-infinity/deus-absconditus

2https://www.rzim.org/read/a-slice-of-infinity/hide-and-seek

3Thankfully, Phil Schneider’s blog offers the context and the lyrics for this song: https://www.philschneider.net/2014/he-giveth-more-grace/

4https://www.beliefnet.com/columnists/blogalogue/2008/04/why-suffering-is-gods-problem.html#WHQpUiBP60ZCJmmy.99

Websites last accessed on 16th March 2019.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Does The Bible Endorse Suicide Bombing? What Motivates Suicide Bombers?


            Suicide bombing has been a terrorism staple for years. A suicide bomber is one who sacrifices his life and kills many more for the sake of his religion or for the sake of principle.

            Can a Christian be a suicide bomber?

            If the Bible supports suicide bombing and if a Christian can be a suicide bomber, then Christians cannot condemn any act of terrorism that involves suicide bombing. Some of our Muslim friends believe that the Bible endorses suicide bombing. 

            A Christian cannot be a suicide bomber. In other words, a Christian cannot kill people.

            However, a Christian can be a martyr for his faith as the apostles were. The Bible espouses martyrdom (cf. Stephen’s martyrdom in Acts 6 & 7; Matthew 5:11, 10:39; Revelations 20:4). Therefore, a Christian can die (sacrifice his life) for the sake of his faith.

            However, some Muslims inaccurately claim that the Bible endorses suicide bombing.1 They cite Samson’s death as a case in point.

            Christian apologist and blogger, Andy Wrasman, debunks the notion that Samson was a suicide bomber in his article entitled Samson is not a Biblical parallel to Suicide Bombers! Find below an excerpt of his article – the titles of the four distinctive points:2

1st – Samson was a judge over Israel, the people of God.  The position he had was appointed by God.  Justice needed to be served.  The false god and the temple of the Philistines should not prevail against the real God of the universe.
2nd – Samson’s strength always came from God.
3rd – Samson’s death was far different from that of a suicide bomber.
4th – From the Biblical worldview, all life comes from God and it is his to give or take.  All humans die as punishment for our sin (man, woman, or child).  When and how death shall come is a matter left to God.

            Therefore, Samson’s death cannot be associated with suicide bombing.

            Saul’s death can also not be associated with suicide bombing. Saul committed suicide. Period. 

            Interpreting Saul’s death as an endorsement of suicide bombing is an exercise in Eisegesis,3 not Exegesis.4

            Since both the Old Testament (Exodus 20:13, 23:7; Proverbs 6:17) and the New Testament (Matthew 5:21-22, 15:18,19; 1 John 3:11-12) prohibit us from killing people, we could reasonably conclude that a Christian cannot be a suicide bomber.

            So the Bible prohibits the despicable act of suicide bombing. But that does not prevent a Christian from sacrificing his life for the sake of Christ, albeit without harming others.

            The Bible endorses martyrdom.

            The Bible speaks of martyrdom. The Apostles died for the sake of their belief in the Lord Jesus Christ. They died because they literally saw the risen Lord. They knew their life on earth was short and fleeting. They believed they would continue to live after their death and they would be in the presence of God forever and ever.

            The Bible teaches afterlife. Jesus gave the apostles the assurance that they will continue to live even after they die, ““I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die.” (John 11:25-26a, NIV). They believed Jesus. Hence, they died for HIS sake.

            Therefore, Christians can sacrifice their lives for the sake of Christ, but they cannot be a suicide bomber. The Bible does not condone suicide bombing.

            What motivates suicide bombing?

            Religions motivate suicide bombing. For instance, Islam endorses suicide bombing.

            Islam also teaches afterlife and martyrdom. A Muslim believes he/she will be in paradise if they die for the sake of Allah (Sura 47: 4-6, 15). Sura 3:157,165-167,169-171&195b teaches that Allah will blot out the sins of the martyrs, and they will go to paradise.

            Atheism, as a religion or a worldview, cannot prevent suicide bombing. If atheists desire to be a suicide bomber, their worldview tacitly endorses it.

            Atheists believe that there is no afterlife. Lack of afterlife is also a motivating factor for martyrdom.

            If there is no afterlife, and if this life is all that there is to be, then what prevents a desolate or a deranged atheist to be an agent of death? Nothing!

            Afterlife is not the only motivating factor for a suicide bomber. There are other factors too. Chief among them is national humiliation.

            BBC cites a study of suicide bombers (because of suicide attacks that failed for a variety of reasons) from Tel Aviv University and reports that ‘national humiliation’ is another motivating factor, “…"national humiliation" ranked higher as a reason for an attack." This was by far the clearest, strongest motivation they expressed. “It is not a matter of personal suffering; they tried to avenge their communities suffering. They mentioned events that they saw on television, not events that happened to them personally.”5

            Therefore, the belief or unbelief in afterlife and/or national humiliation are indeed motivating factors for suicide bombing.

Endnotes:

1http://www.answering-christianity.com/suicide_bombing_in_the_bible.htm

2https://andywrasman.com/2015/01/08/samson-is-a-biblical-parallel-to-suicide-bombers/

3An interpretation, especially of Scripture, that expresses the interpreter's own ideas, bias, or the like, rather than the meaning of the text: https://www.dictionary.com.

4Critical explanation or interpretation of a text or portion of a text, especially of the Bible: https://www.dictionary.com.

5https://www.bbc.com/news/health-11770842

Websites last accessed on 7th May 2019.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Is Astrology A Science?


            Astrology is the study of celestial bodies' purported influence on human behavior and worldly events. Astrology has captured the minds of so many millennials that they read their horoscope every day.1 “According to a new survey by the National Science Foundation, nearly half of all Americans say that astrology is either "very scientific" or "sort of scientific." By contrast, 92 percent of the Chinese public think horoscopes are a bunch of baloney,” reports an article in the UPI.2     
   
            In an effort to validate astrology, its staunchest believers term astrology as a science. In fact, an Indian High Court pronounced astrology as a science, “India's Bombay High Court has ruled that astrology (which took a recent and very public drubbing after an astronomer pointed out that astrological signs have changed over millennia) is not merely a harmless diversion but instead a science, presumably on par with biology, astronomy and physics.”3

            Is astrology a scientific discipline?

            NASA emphasizes that astrology is not science and that it should not be confused with the scientific discipline of astronomy, “Astronomy is the scientific study of everything in outer space. Astronomers and other scientists know that stars many light years* away have no effect on the ordinary activities of humans on Earth.

            Astrology is something else. It's not science. No one has shown that astrology can be used to predict the future or describe what people are like based only on their birth date.”4

            An article in The Wire authored by Dr. S.K Arun Murthi, Assistant Professor, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, offers a scientific rebuttal to the notion that astrology is science:5

If astrology is about how planetary positions influence humans, then what exactly does the ‘strength’ of a planet mean as far as humans are concerned? This is not made clear. Meanings in such cases have to be made clear in empirical terms – by deriving meaning from observational correlations.
For example, there is a certain astrological concept called shukra asta, a period of around two months or more during certain parts of the year. According to astrological traditions, no auspicious ceremonies are to be performed during this period.
An internet search revealed that, according to astrological texts, planets come very close to the Sun at certain times of the year. As a result they lose their brightness, or lustre, with respect to the Sun. This is symbolic of a planet losing its strength, resulting in shukra asta (Sanskrit for ‘combustion of a planet’). The implication for astrology is that shukra asta robs the beneficial effects of the planet.
From this, we can infer that a planet’s strength stands for the intensity or brightness of its light, and such strengths or brightness symbolises certain good and bad effects for human lives. However, this explanation is puzzling because no planet has a light of its own. It only reflects the light of a star. Thus, to speak of the brightness of a planet being blunted because of its proximity to the Sun is empirically meaningless.
There are many people who have been exposed to school-level science and who attempt to provide a rational defence of astrology. Their superficial argument of how planets influence human beings, stemming from an evident lack of understanding, goes typically like this: Planets (in astrology, this includes the Sun and the Moon) influence Earth. Therefore, they influence water bodies that, in turn, influence the lives of living beings. This is essentially an appeal to Isaac Newton’s and Albert Einstein’s laws of gravity.
But this is demonstrably naïve. Of course, the gravity due to one object influences every other object – but the assumption is that these objects ought to be quite heavy for their effects to be perceptible. Second: the attractive force between two massive bodies is a physical force. So the question arises: how can the gravitational force exerted by a planet be able to affect out love lives, matrimonial prospects, business affairs, etc. – in other words, the typical issues that astrologers deal with? Can astrologers or astrological texts establish a literal causal relationship?
The flyer for the workshop proposed in the IISc campus (which stands now cancelled) described astrology as “a scientific tool for individual progress”. Individual progress is a matter of human activities (such as those listed in the previous para) and aspirations. Other animals that we inhabit our Earth with do not have to bother with these things and so astrology does not matter to them. Then again, this is precisely the point: how can there be natural influences on our socially constructed practices and behaviours, the evaluation of which is also socially constructed?
For example, to be successful at something is to achieve a specific set of outcomes that our society has evolved. So planets guided by natural laws can’t have any say in whether a person will achieve those outcomes. In fact, any such connection in this context will either be completely alien to us or, of course, simply meaningless. The astrological texts that do claim to make this connection will have resorted to metaphors. There is, as a result, a complete lack of meaning and evidence.
Such analytical demand for meaning and evidence is usually met by appealing to something unquestionable, such as a tradition. However, the excuse of a tradition is easily invoked as a shield whenever beliefs like shukra asta are threatened by rational sensibilities. If a tradition is taken as ground for belief – a ground where neither reason nor empirical thinking operate – then tradition becomes connected to ignorance, such as is the root of all superstitions some people adhere to in the name of tradition. It is time that a society guided by such baseless traditions works to right itself, and that TV channels stop airing nonsensical programs on astrology.

            So these are very reasonable objections (from non-Christian sources) against astrology being a scientific discipline.

            Finally, let us consider the objection of another non-Christian source, Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev, who is one of Hinduism’s most popular proponents, debunking astrology. When questioned whether we are defined by the stars or self, Sadhguru alludes to the notion that astrology does not impact our lives:6

Questioner: I have studied Vedic astrology and I am wondering, does astrology work? Are we defined by the stars, or by intention and mind, or by the self?
Sadhguru: You need to understand, India is not just about the Vedas or Vedic culture. Sage Vyasa, the person who compiled the four Vedas – his father was an Aryan and his mother was a Dravidian. In spite of that, in South India, they don’t ascribe to the Vedas.
Dravidian culture never went for astrology by looking at the stars, they made predictions by looking at people. Here, we have what is called Nadi Joshyam. But the Aryan culture came with astrology. Astrology is an interpretation of astronomy. If you try to interpret something, invariably you miss a lot of points. So it is a mis-interpretation because you missed a lot of things.
Anyway, the choice is this: either you try to live your life by predictions or you have the capability to make a plan and fulfill the plan. All those minds which are incapable of a plan will look for a prediction. The stars that you see in the sky are far away, so very far away that they have nothing to do with you. Just one star has a big influence upon you – the Sun. And its satellite, the Moon, also has some influence upon you. This planet has an even greater influence upon you. But above all, what is within you has the biggest influence upon you. All those who are incapable of committing themselves to a plan and fulfilling it, want a prediction. The advantage with predictions is, you can keep changing them. But if a plan has to work, you have to pay enormous attention in creating one. Then you have to stick to it.
I only hope all predictions go wrong for you. Then it means your life is happening wonderfully. Otherwise you are going by the script that was written by some fool. In India, for twenty-five rupees, or fifty cents, they will write your life. Let your life not be so bad. It does not matter what the hell happens, let something other than the prediction happen to you. Is that okay? May your predictions and dreams not come true. Because a prediction is just a compromised dream (Emphasis Mine).

            To conclude, astrology is not a science, and significantly, it does not impact our lives. Therefore, Christians should not practice/consult astrology (Deuteronomy 18:10-14; Acts 4:12, 16:16-18; Hebrews 12:2).

Endnotes:

1https://www.marketwatch.com/story/why-millennials-are-ditching-religion-for-witchcraft-and-astrology-2017-10-20

2https://www.upi.com/Science_News/2014/02/11/Majority-of-young-adults-think-astrology-is-a-science/5201392135954/

3https://www.livescience.com/12856-astrology-science-indian-court-ruling.html

4https://spaceplace.nasa.gov/starfinder2/en/

5https://thewire.in/religion/science-says-astrology-lacks-meaning-evidence

6 https://isha.sadhguru.org/in/en/wisdom/article/does-astrology-work

Websites last accessed on 30th April 2019.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Why Islam Persecutes Christians?


            Christians are the most persecuted people on planet earth. Open Doors lists 33 countries where Christians are widely persecuted by Islam.1 Most of these countries boast a Muslim majority. However, Christians are being persecuted even in a few countries where Islam is not a majority. This is an interesting dynamic.

            In the wake of the recent Easter Sunday bombings in Sri Lanka, a proper understanding of the motive behind the Islamic persecution of Christians is necessary.

            The Quran seems to motivate terrorism against Christians. I mentioned a few verses from the Quran in my earlier blog entitled Islamic Terror & A Peaceful Response:2

Quran 2: 191: “And kill them wherever you overtake them and expel them from wherever they have expelled you, and fitnah is worse than killing. And do not fight them at al-Masjid al- Haram until they fight you there. But if they fight you, then kill them. Such is the recompense of the disbelievers.”
Quran 3: 85: “And whoever desires other than Islam as religion - never will it be accepted from him, and he, in the Hereafter, will be among the losers.”
Quran 5:33: “Indeed, the penalty for those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger and strive upon earth [to cause] corruption is none but that they be killed or crucified or that their hands and feet be cut off from opposite sides or that they be exiled from the land. That is for them a disgrace in this world; and for them in the Hereafter is a great punishment…”
Quran 8: 12: “…I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieved, so strike [them] upon the necks and strike from them every fingertip.”
Quran 9:5: “And when the sacred months have passed, then kill the polytheists wherever you find them and capture them and besiege them and sit in wait for them at every place of ambush…”
Quran 47:4: “So when you meet those who disbelieve [in battle], strike [their] necks until, when you have inflicted slaughter upon them, then secure their bonds, and either [confer] favor afterwards or ransom [them] until the war lays down its burdens. That [is the command]. And if Allah had willed, He could have taken vengeance upon them [Himself], but [He ordered armed struggle] to test some of you by means of others. And those who are killed in the cause of Allah - never will He waste their deeds.” 
         
            There are more verses from the Quran that seems to motivate the persecution of Christians. Christian apologist David Wood mentions these verses in his YouTube video:3

Quran 9:29: Fight those who do not believe in Allah or in the Last Day and who do not consider unlawful what Allah and His Messenger have made unlawful and who do not adopt the religion of truth from those who were given the Scripture - [fight] until they give the jizyah willingly while they are humbled.
Quran 9:123: O you who have believed, fight those adjacent to you of the disbelievers and let them find in you harshness. And know that Allah is with the righteous.
Quran 48: 29: Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah ; and those with him are forceful against the disbelievers, merciful among themselves. You see them bowing and prostrating [in prayer], seeking bounty from Allah and [His] pleasure. Their mark is on their faces from the trace of prostration. That is their description in the Torah. And their description in the Gospel is as a plant which produces its offshoots and strengthens them so they grow firm and stand upon their stalks, delighting the sowers - so that Allah may enrage by them the disbelievers. Allah has promised those who believe and do righteous deeds among them forgiveness and a great reward.
Quran 8:60: And prepare against them whatever you are able of power and of steeds of war by which you may terrify the enemy of Allah and your enemy and others besides them whom you do not know [but] whom Allah knows. And whatever you spend in the cause of Allah will be fully repaid to you, and you will not be wronged.
Quran 9:111: Indeed, Allah has purchased from the believers their lives and their properties [in exchange] for that they will have Paradise. They fight in the cause of Allah, so they kill and are killed. [It is] a true promise [binding] upon Him in the Torah and the Gospel and the Qur'an. And who is truer to his covenant than Allah ? So rejoice in your transaction which you have contracted. And it is that which is the great attainment.

            Some of our Muslim friends would refuse to believe that the Quran promotes terrorism. They insist that Islam is a peace-loving religion and that these verses are misinterpreted.

            Christian apologist David Wood has a very interesting thought. He correlates the life of Prophet Muhammad to the notion that Islam is a peace-loving religion, “…more than thirteen centuries ago, the relatively peaceful Muhammad fled Mecca because of intense persecution. As he fled the city, he left the path of peace farther and farther behind him. He eventually returned at the head of an army, and few were brave enough to oppose him. Islamic law was suddenly supreme, with a host of bloody tales to warn its enemies. A similar phenomenon occurs in the world today. When Muslims are in the minority (as they are in America) the message is always "Let us live in peace with one another, for Islam is a religion of tolerance and understanding." Then, once Islam has spread throughout the country, the message suddenly changes to "Anyone who stands against the Prophet is worthy of death!"”4

            In his article Is Islam a Religion of Peace? Christian apologist Sam Shamoun claims that Islam is not a peace loving religion. In fact, Shamoun demonstrates the fact that the Quran teaches Muslims to seek peace if they are outnumbered. On the contrary, and interestingly, if Muslims are in power (and in the majority), the Quran teaches them to not seek peace.5

            Shamoun lists three stages in the Muhammadan model of dealing with enemies:6

            Stage 1 – Preach tolerance when outnumbered by unbelievers/No retaliation stage.

            Stage 2 – Permit Defensive Fighting when there are enough Muslims and weapons to successfully carry it out.

            Stage 3 – After amassing a large number of soldiers and resources permission is given to carry out Offensive Warfare in order to kill the pagans and humble the Christians and Jews.

            To further substantiate the notion that Islam is not a peace loving religion, David Wood’s enlightening response to the question Is Islam a peace loving religion? is a must-read:

            David Wood writes, “If someone were to ask me, "David, do you believe that Islam is a religion of peace?" my answer would not be "Yes" or "No." Rather, my response would be, "First tell me what you mean when you say ‘Islam,’ for it is a term that is used in different ways." If by "Islam" we mean the religion that is practiced by more than a billion people around the world, I could reasonably answer with a qualified "Yes," because it is a religion of peace for many people (though not for all). But if by "Islam" we mean the religion taught by Muhammad, I would have to respond with a resounding "No."”7

            David Wood asserts that the peace-loving group and the terror-loving group can coexist under the unifying worldview of Islam. He writes, “One Muslim beheads an innocent woman to protest the war in Iraq, while another Muslim curses him for slaying the innocent. One group of Muslims flies an aircraft into a building, while another group condemns the attack. One Muslim detonates a bomb on a bus filled with passengers, while another Muslim says on the evening news, "Islam is a religion of peace." Each side quotes the Qur’an to support its actions. However, it may be even more important to note that each of them is following the example set by Muhammad.”8

            How then do we reconcile with our friends who ardently claim that Islam is a peace loving religion?

            David Wood cites the reason behind the claim of our benevolent Muslim friends that Islam is a peace loving religion. He writes, “I’m very happy that most Muslims are willing to live in peace with their neighbors. Yet we have to be honest here. Benevolent Muslims aren’t peaceful because they are following the example set by Muhammad. They are peaceful because they’ve chosen to do what’s right, and because they are willing to live far better lives than Muhammad himself lived. In fact, many Muslims are such kind, peaceful, and gentle people that they seem to be following the example set by another great religious leader—one who died on the cross for the sins of the world and rose from the dead to prove his message. This man gave his listeners a sober warning: "Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them" (Matthew 7:15). And, may I add, we should also watch out for false religions, which come to us crying "Peace! Peace!" when they are built on a foundation of murder and bloodshed.”9

            To conclude, Islam persecutes Christians because the Quran validates the persecution and Prophet Muhammad’s life reflects the Quranic validation of persecuting Christians. Furthermore, there is a reasonably good case to believe that Islam is not a peace loving religion. Having said this, we should mention the presence of many Muslims who believe in living peaceably with their neighbor and let’s pray that these Muslims would, slowly yet surely, instill peace into Islam.

Endnotes:

1https://www.opendoorsusa.org/christian-persecution/world-watch-list/

2https://rajkumarrichard.blogspot.com/2017/06/islamic-terror-peaceful-response.html

3https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pt8Z_XMcluw&t=362s&fbclid=IwAR37vizfZXQwMby6zoVZdBS0WUF2yQ2N1CDH16vsh_fwIZv-011wrjnH7qg

4https://www.answering-islam.org/Authors/Wood/two_faces.htm

5https://www.answering-islam.org/Shamoun/na_debate.htm

6Ibid.

7https://www.answering-islam.org/Authors/Wood/two_faces.htm

8Ibid.

9Ibid.

Websites last accessed on 25th April 2019.