UI – Part 256 – Chicken & Egg – Jesus & Muhammad.
We all know the story, but I cannot say we all know the answer. Which came first?
Persecution is an interesting excuse to react violently towards another. “I was being persecuted therefore I retaliated with a weapon. Sure they used words and cartoons, but there had to be an end. That source will never condemn what I believe again.” What does that suggest? Certainly more than an eye for an eye. Where is the tolerance? Where is the understanding? Was truth ever a factor?
Al Jazerra TV recently had a show where they depicted Iran meeting with Hizbollah and Syria, possibly others, in Malta to discuss retribution for the accidental destruction of an Iranian passenger airliner killing 239 aboard. Libya was not present. Then the PanAm flight over Lockerby Scotland that was shot down became the focus, whereby Iran was responsible, an eye-for-an-eye, while we blamed Libya.
Bible History – Jesus
The Bible has architectural remnants, human witnesses and factual elements embedded in the history of the world. The world knows of Jesus. Some accept him as God incarnate and the savior of mankind. Others deny this possibility. The Muslim Quran denies Jesus divinity and calls him perfect. Jesus never succumbed to temptation. However by such denial are Muslims confusing themselves saying on one hand Isa is perfect and on the other hand a liar. They cannot have it both ways. The debate may be over acceptance. Also the argument rests with Jesus divinity. If you do not accept and another questions your concerns (your non-acceptance), even tries to educate you (proselytize) as to the Gospel, are you being persecuted? If your answer is yes, is that worthy of full force retribution or condemnation? What if you are wrong, and in fact you deny the truth. Is that worth killing others?
Should anyone be allowed to stifle Freedom of Speech? Freedom of Thought may never be stopped, but expressing what one thinks can be risky in some circles. Why would freedom be wrong, except that it allows for pluralism, and thus calls for tolerance, as within the crowds are many different views, ideologies, religions and ideas? The result is differences of opinion. Can there be but one train of thought? Can the free spirit that is in the heart of every human be suppressed? On the surface it may be but if you look into your heart, into your inner-self, you know the freedom you seek. It is a conscious decision you must make daily to avoid temptations. No matter the extent of the locks put on the cage of your conscious you cannot escape Satan’s candy when placed before you. It takes resistance. Even if you exist in a world All for Allah, Satan will be there and you could be seduced.
There are Muslims that want a world that is peaceful. They love God and find actions by fundamentalist Islamists deplorable. They take comfort saying other religious fundamentalists act in a similar fashion. But do they? If a moderate or tolerant or quiet Muslim does not follow the rule of law of Islam then are they truly Muslim? Should they not seek the religion, the ideology, that suits their love of God and preference for a peaceful world. Or as in the case of Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the Somalian woman who was recently denied an honorary degree offered by Brandeis University, a staunch women’s human rights advocate with expressed concerns for the treatment of Muslim women, she left Islam to become an atheist.
Islam says there is but one path and that those who are not on it must convert, accept, pay a tax for protection or be eliminated. But will that eliminate what your heart truly knows or perceives? There is little tolerance for those not in the fold. Islam tells its practitioners to do good as they will be measured and judged for the good they do in life; the good outweighing the bad. There are rewards for killing those who deny or resist being Muslim, which common folk would consider evil, certainly bad. The innocent are only Muslims, as all others are wrong. What about the Muslims on the edges, those who are more tolerant. Are they less Allah loving, less of a Muslim, less superior, to be more subservient and subject to severe chastisement. They are but infidels. Thus there is no freedom, but from what, which strain of the ideology of the All for Allah crowd is the right one.
Christianity says there is but one path and those who are not on it are still loved by God. If you stray you do not die, nor are you placed in the sights of a weapon of Islam, nor any other faith for that matter. Being the target of an Islamist, however, is more troubling to humans today than any other ideological philosophy having the Almighty as its person to be reckoned with. God seeks out the non-believer, not in retribution, but in wanting them to return home to be embraced, their eyes opened along with their hearts, mind and spirit. There is tolerance for those outside the faith, men and women, Jew and Muslim, pagan and humanist, yet God watches them, his children (earthly followers) pray for them. The prayer is that they too may discover the mercy and grace of God.
Muhammad arrived on the world stage 600 years after Christ. During his lifetime he developed a following based on his personal claim that Jesus was not crucified (it was a fake), the resurrection did not take place, and Christ was not divine. He embraced God alone as Allah, with a measure of works the means to attain access to Paradise. He was emboldened by his following and insisted that Allah is the god all must choose and obey. His message was Allah’s. His authority was the last word, the final judgment, and the law. Power was in his hands and others suffered if he was seen as less than what he claimed; an example: the Jews not seeing him as the Prophet he claimed to be. He willingly killed those that threatened his status using Allah as his excuse. He imprisoned those who followed by not allowing them to leave, to become apostates. They were never to leave the cage into which they were born, converted or were forced for fear of punishment (chastisement) to include death.
Jesus was humble. Called a King he never accepted that title as an overseer, or as Caesar. When he rode into the city it was on a donkey, not a grand white horse. His crown was of thorns, not gold. His throne was a cross. He was killed by the authorities as they claimed he threatened their status. He offered by way of his sacrifice life with Him, with God, forever forgiven for the sins we are all subject to committing, as believers and followers filled with the Spirit of God. When Christ died there was no fight to become the next King of the Christ followers. There was no succession plan. Who needs to succeed God?
Who Was the First?
Today’s question is who was the first to persecute or who made the first move. Was it Muhammad against those who would not accept his one Allah proclamations? Or was it the Jews, pagans or Christians against Muhammad’s denial of their belief? Certainly the Christian world evolved in advance of Muhammad. They were the basis, their Book, the Book-of-the-People, the foundation for a proper life which Muhammad adopted. Christians have been persecuted from the advent of Jesus. It is most noteworthy that the New Testament, the Gospels that guide us know and understand the Savior and to live a Christian life, contain no call for war and thus no command to extirpate (eliminate) non-believers. Authorities, as government, are left to deal with the common good, while the faithful are called to lead a Christ-like life. For this Christians are persecuted as they seem to threaten authority, yet never using the sword.
Are the Muslims justified when they claim they are being persecuted? Are they justified when they do not allow others to proclaim their opposing belief before a Muslim or in a Muslim Country? Such a profession of faith, if not Islam, is considered a crime. Why? Is that what God would ask you to do? Are Islamists justified in the actions they take towards those who they call their ‘persecutors’? Are they afraid people may be exposed to Truth?
Blessed Are Those….
“Blessed are those who are persecuted because of their righteousness, for theirs in the kingdom of heaven.” (NIV84; Matt 5:10) “All men will hate you because of me (Christ), but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.” (Matt 10:22) “In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil men and imposters will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.” (2 Tim 3:12-13) “All Scripture (Bible, Word of God) is God-breathed (inspired) and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Tim 3:16-17) “by faith we … receive the promise of the Spirit.” (Gal 3:14) “For it is by Grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Eph 2:8-10)
Happy Easter. He has Risen indeed!
Grace and Peace.