Monday, June 13, 2016

Just Thinking....About Orlando

So while scrolling through all of the responses to the shootings in Florida, I have found the typical get rid of guns, get more guns, it's the Muslims, it's not the Muslims banter. There are the various insults, profanities and the typical name calling. None of which is actually helping anything. It does seem to make people feel like they are important and accomplishing something though. So maybe that is a good way for them to vent their anger. However, once in a while some individual who seems to believe in the greatness of their intelligence will bring up the supposedly brilliant argument that Christians are just as violent as Muslims. This argument is often strengthened by pointing out that Adolf Hitler and the Nazis were "Christians." While I sit dumbfounded by the absolute ignorance of this argument a couple of thoughts occur to me.

First, the truth is Hitler did use Christianity in his evil. The Nazis did, in fact, cause many of the churches to join Hitler in his perverted beliefs by using German pastors as tools for his political aspirations. HOWEVER!!!! There was a sizable group of Christian pastors and leaders from all over the world who stood strongly, openly and vocally in opposition to Hitler and his agenda. Men like Dietrich Bonhoeffer. (I would suppose many reading this may not know this man. It would be wise for you to look him up) These men and woman actually gave their lives attempting to take down Adolf Hitler. They recognized the real problem and sacrificially set out to do something about it. They realized that the Christian faith was being perverted and used as an avenue for the propagation of evil. They weren't quietly sitting on the sidelines but boldly standing against, being imprisoned for and giving their lives for the mission of stopping this tyrant. It was never the Christians who were behind this evil, it was Hitler and the Nazis.

It is true that there will always be a perversion of the Christian faith, but there will always be a strong outcry from those who truly know the Word of God. 

So, my question is for those who claim Islam is a religion of peace. Where is the huge groundswell of Muslim believers who are so strongly standing against this perversion of their religion? Where is the voice of the resistance? I don't see it. I do realize there are a few voices here and there but where is the organized voice of the peaceful Muslim? Most of what I see is an immediate running to a microphone to tell people they are not allowed to believe that Islam is a religion of hate and violence, while commenting on yet another act of hate and violence perpetrated by someone who claims Islam as their faith and yells “Allahu Akbar” while carrying out the act. The anger gets directed at the victims, their families and all of the Americans and others who are wondering why these Muslim believers keep killing us. Somehow their actions are the fault of those who would even dare ask the question. 

Are ALL Muslims violent extremists? Absolutely not! I do not believe, in any way, that all Muslims are violent extremists, but the fact is, there are terrorist attacks occurring consistently that are either directly linked to, or at least inspired by, the radical Islamic belief system. Somehow and in some way those who believe their religion is being hijacked need to stand up in mass and put an end to it or at least vocally oppose it.

Now, let’s move back to Hitler the “Christian” and his Nazi “Christian” cohorts. When logic and good sense ruled in the world, evil was met by a resolve to destroy it. No one ran around blaming the weapons Hitler and the Nazis used to destroy. MILLIONS of Jews were killed in the Nazi gas chambers. You did not see people running around claiming there needed to be a ban on gas chambers. Why? Gas chambers were not the problem. Hitler was the problem. The Nazis were the problem. I want to be very clear about something. What I’m about to say is not because I am either in favor of or against the second amendment and the access to guns. So PLEASE keep the gun arguments out of this. That is not the point of THIS post. If you wish to argue about gun control there are many other posts that are not hard to find today.

What I know is the problem is far bigger than guns. Not one single person was killed on 9/11 because of a gun. In Israel, they are facing terrorist attacks on a very regular basis. Many don’t know this because they are, apparently, too busy to pay attention. What is the weapon of choice in these attacks? A Knife. These attacks are happening often. There aren’t as many people killed in these attacks, but the frequency with which they are occurring is leaving just as much damage. Just last week Yazidi woman were burned to death because they refused to be raped by their captors. In the last few months a Jordanian pilot was placed in a cage and burned to death. Others were placed in cages and lowered into water. Christians were forced to kneel on top of bombs that were buried in the ground. Bombs exploded! Christians dead! People EVERY DAY are being crucified, burnt, blown up, thrown off of buildings, drown and beheaded. These people are Christians, Muslims, Jews, Palestinians, Hindus, Buddhists, gays, straights, woman, men and children. What is the one thing all of these evil and disgusting acts have in common? It wasn’t guns. I’ll leave it up to you to figure out the common denominator. And another question; Why no massive outcry on facebook and twitter in support of these lives? The silence is deafening. I think the real answer to that question may be very telling. (Excuse me your hypocrisy is showing)

Also, the young man who attacked the nightclub was, apparently, known by the F.B.I. since 2013 to be tied to terror and acquainted with a man involved with suicide bombings. (When a background check was done for his “so easy to purchase” guns, why wasn’t this information available to the seller? A different question for a different post) How many people have been killed by Islamic terrorist suicide bombings in, let’s say, the last 5 years? HUNDREDS!! My point is that you can ban “assault” weapons if you want. It won’t make a difference. You can ban all guns if you want. It won’t make a difference. Those who have a core ideology of killing people they hate will always find a way to kill people they hate. While we argue about guns and things maybe we could take a moment to remember that there is an entire branch of Islam that believes they are called, not to prevent war and death, but to provoke a war in order for their “Mahdi” or their Messiah to show up and rule over a new Islamic kingdom. For those who think I don’t know what I’m talking about please study it out yourself. If starting a war through violence and hate is your core belief you cannot negotiate peace. They are going to kill and believe they are doing it for God. All Muslims DO NOT believe this way, but there are many that do.  

I realize the knee jerk reaction to ban guns is strong when emotions are running high but we must honestly face the fact that the guns weren't the cause of the senseless violence in Florida. The guns were tools used to carry out an act based on the true cause which was a theology of hate, probably reinforced in the mind of someone who wasn’t mentally stable to begin with. This is not a pro or anti gun statement, this is a statement of truth. His guns were tools just like gas chambers, hijacked planes, bombs knives, fire and water. Again, this is a much bigger problem than guns.

I’m not against peaceful Muslims and their freedom to worship. America is, at least at the moment, a free country with the freedom of religion. While I believe Islam is a false and deceptive religion I will not oppose those who wish to practice it. Muslims have every constitutional right to worship as they wish. At the same time, I will boldly proclaim my belief that Jesus Christ is the only way to Heaven and others can accept or reject that message. What I do adamantly oppose is any ideology that condones the murder of Americans or anyone else because they refuse to convert to their perverted ideology. 

Hitler and the Nazis had to be defeated. The United States and the rest of the civilized world stood up and declared we are going to put an end to them. The true Christian church stood up and said Hitler and the Nazis need to be stopped. They unified and said we are going to stand against evil in the world and eliminate it. We cannot continue to use the actions of people who are determined to kill in any way they can to justify political agendas that, at their core, are not the problem. It is high time that America and the rest of the world step up and with one united voice say enough is enough. I hear politicians; both democrat and republican talk a big game about stopping radical Islam in the world. However, at the end of the day they send out a few “strongly condemn” tweets and then go back to their fundraising and campaigning and fail to make a real stand. This is not helping either

In the end though, it doesn’t matter what politicians do because the real problem is not political. We can fight wars, kill terrorists and imprison sympathizers. It is the number one job of our government to protect the people. It is their responsibility and they must do that in ways that are very difficult and costly. However, war, death and prison will not stop hate. Why? Because our world is broken. The problem is that men’s hearts are desperately wicked and full of sin. It may seem like too simple of a thing to say but it is true. I am going to go to my grave proclaiming that there is an answer for the sin and for the destructive hate. The answer is Jesus Christ. In the Word of God He is called the Prince of Peace. It is only in Christ that hearts can be changed. Hatred is turned to love and war is overcome by peace. Most of the world will mock and reject the gospel message of Christ. It doesn’t change the truth of the message. However, there will be a day when Christ comes and sets up a kingdom that will reign in worldwide peace. That is the only time we will actually have an opportunity to see peace on Earth. When you are overwhelmed by the circumstances of the times, turn to Christ. He is your answer. Accepting Christ may not bring peace to the world today, but it will bring peace to you and there will be a day when you will see peace in the world.

Finally, my heart goes out to the families and friends of those who were lost at the hands of this murderer. I choose not to see those who were killed as “those gays.” These were real people with real families and friends who loved them. We cannot allow them to be perceived as nameless and faceless individuals. I see them as fellow Americans, as human beings, and as people who were loved by God. I do not accept that this was an attack on “The Gay Community.” There are times when we may discuss and debate our different "communities" and beliefs, but there are times when we need to stand together. This is one of those times. This was an attack on the fellow citizens of my country. We are all Americans and this was an attack on all of us. There is no excuse and no justification for what happened to them and we should all do our own part to try our best to keep it from happening again.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Just Thinking About.....Tolerance

Tolerance seems to be the buzzword of the current socially accepted, politically correct, modern culture. We are told that everyone should be tolerant of others. Seriously though, no one actually believes that. You don't believe it and I don't believe it. It would be more accurate to say that everyone must be tolerant of what THEY dictate. Am I Wrong? Look at the comment section of any article or post relating to Biblical values, traditional marriage, abstinence before marriage, the pro-life position or anything that has to do with a strong Christian stand in general. You will quickly find yourself immersed in the warm and loving arms of the new and “tolerant” society. All of the sudden, differences of opinion will, most definitely, not be tolerated. Wait one second! I think that’s called hypocrisy. Don’t point that out though. That would be intolerant of you. Manipulation, intimidation and control all in the beautiful name of tolerance.

Is the church immune to this? Hardly! Every day my facebook, twitter, instagram and "conservative" leaning news sites are filled with hateful and disrespectful articles, posts and pictures about the “evil left,” “Those idiots,” and my personal favorite “The demoncrats.” …......Demoncrats???? Really?? I bet Jesus gets a good laugh out of "demoncrats" right? LOL Jesus probably hates those people too right?? Uhh? Maybe not! I’m frustrated and discouraged to say some of those people posting and commentating are called “Pastor.” Sometimes I catch myself saying to myself, “Wow I thought that person was a Christian. Oh wait! They are?! The devil must have hacked their twitter account. I better pray about that.” Sometimes I feel tempted to say the same things. Father, lead me not into temptation!

Wouldn’t it be better if we were ACTUALLY tolerant? And by tolerant I mean intolerant. Huh? I’m just going to say it; I’m not very tolerant about some things as it relates to my life and what I believe the church is called to be. I have strong opinions on what's the best direction for our country and our society. These beliefs are based on strong foundations. I’m not just going to roll over and play dead because someone doesn’t like what I believe.

The thing is, I’m willing to bet you are the same way. There are certain things that you aren’t very tolerant of because you believe it. If you don't have things that you believe in deeply, you are not tolerant, you are weak! So here’s the thing, isn’t real tolerance being tolerant of others intolerance. Wait! Don’t tune out on me now. Is it really tolerant to only tolerate what it is that you believe? It’s not that hard for me to tolerate people who believe like me. So, the only real way for me to truly be tolerant is to tolerate people who don’t believe like me, right?

Let me put it this way, I believe that homosexuality is sin in the eyes of God. I don’t, in any way, hate homosexuals. (This is the part where I say I have people in my life that I care deeply about that are living a homosexual lifestyle which will then cue those who will mock me for saying I have people in my life that I care about that live a homosexual lifestyle. Tolerance is awesome!) Anyway, I don't hate them, I just disagree. I believe that abortion is the killing of an unborn child. I don’t hate people who believe in abortion and I certainly do not hate those who have had an abortion. I just disagree with them. I believe that The Holy Bible is the inspired Word of God. I don’t hate people who disagree. I believe that Jesus Christ is the only way to salvation. You don’t believe that? O.K. Guess what? I disagree with you, with very strong and long thought out reason. However, I don’t hate you and I will stand up for your right to disagree with me. We can discuss it. Put it out there in the arena of ideas and see where it leads. No hatred, no intimidation or belittling others beliefs, but a real robust, uncompromised and respectful debate. If people don't have the guts to discuss their beliefs without anger, hate and trying to shut the voice of the other, as I have said before, maybe the argument is just not that good. I am willing to stand in the arena of ideas because I believe that I know what's true and real. I truly believe that I know what, or should I say who, can fix our country and our society. I'm not ashamed to put it out there.

Why do I think this way? And maybe this is more for the church folk reading this. I think this way because, believe it or not this is what the Bible teaches. The Apostle Paul, who wrote a big chunk of the New Testament, operated this way. He would go in to a place where they were debating ideas and join the debate. When Paul spoke many believed him. Some didn’t. Some tried to kill him. Not very tolerant, but hey, whatever. No plan is perfect I suppose. The point is Paul would go into a place that had 300 “gods.” He didn’t ridicule them. Instead, he said, “Let me talk to you about that “unknown god” you have there. This is what I believe about Him.

Jesus, himself, hung out with the tax collectors, the sinners, the prostitutes, and worst of all, he hung out with the church people too. He had conversations on the ocean fishing, at a well getting a drink and over in that part of the country where that "other" race of people lived. He didn't care. He would listen to them, love them and then tell them the truth. Again, some accepted him, others didn't. The religious people and the government killed him though. The thing is Jesus planned to die. He planned to die for the same folks that were currently rejecting him and his ideas. I think that's called love.

In the end, what an individual believes is up to that individual and that individual can live with the consequence of that choice one way or another. If I’m not mistaken, that is the real definition of tolerance. This mess we have going on, especially in The United States, is ridiculous!! NO ONE can make a case for their beliefs one way or the other because everyone is screaming and simultaneously covering their ears saying, “nana nana nana I’m not listening to you.” Is it not glaringly apparent that the direction our country is going is not working? The only thing this whole tolerance thing has been successful in doing is tearing our country apart. Racism is increasing. Hatred is multiplying! Anger is on the rise! Our cities are being destroyed. Injustice is prevailing. And guess what? Donald can’t fix it. Hillary can’t fix it and even if you are really “feeling the Bern,” Bernie can’t fix it either. Don't be so foolish as to believe that they can! Why, because the problems are not political, they are spiritual. Just to be clear, THE PROBLEMS ARE NOT POLITICAL THEY ARE SPIRITUAL!!! Spiritual answers need a true spiritual answer. That’s what I believe. What if there was a better way? What if we just talked about it? But what do I know I’m just an idiot Bible-thumper right?