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Should Christians Expect To Be Persecuted?


Neon Genesis
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A common belief I see among many Christians is this belief that if a Christian has their religion criticized or has a previously held special privilege taken away from them, they jump to the conclusion that they are being persecuted for their faith. One example is in the case of homophobia and same-sex marriage. Many Christians believe that if their homophobic treatment of gays and lesbians is challenged and if same-sex marriage is legalized, their freedoms are being taken from them. In reality, their freedoms are not being taken away and they still have the freedom to worship their god however they wish yet they believe that unless America is a "Christian nation" and Christians are granted special privileges no other minority gets, they are being persecuted. There are many Christians who believe that since the bible teaches Christians will be persecuted in the end times, this means that being persecuted is a sign you're a true follower of Jesus. Not only do they believe true believers should expect to be persecuted, but that true believers should actively pursue persecution and if you aren't being persecuted for your faith, this means you aren't a true believer.

 

There is no doubt that there are many Christians in the past and still today who are genuinely being persecuted for their faith. My problem with this belief though is that I find it difficult to believe that most Christians in the U.S., especially those of a fundamentalist persuasion, are actually being persecuted and are confusing genuine persecution with constructive criticism of their beliefs and are confusing having their freedoms taken away with being treated the same as everyone else. To me, to praise persecution as something only true believers experience and that true believers should seek seems like a trivializing of the real persecution Christians have faced throughout the ages and creates what I refer to as a "persecution complex". If I'm not mistaken, I believe there are also passages in the bible where Paul says Christians should also do all things without complaining or grumbling, which raises several questions. Do you believe progressive Christians are being persecuted for their faith and if you do, what ways do you think they are being persecuted? Should progressive Christians not only expect to be persecuted for their faith but to desire it and is persecution always a sign of being a true believer? Do you think there are any moments whether in the past or present where progressives are persecuting others whether consciously or subconsciously and should progressives call out other progressives who may be persecuting others?

Edited by Neon Genesis
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I agree that most Christians in the U.S. have no inkling of what it means to be persecuted. One of my family members, for instance, is a fundamentalist Christian, and this has caused many problems with her relationship to family and co-workers. She takes this as evidence that she’s receiving persecution, and hence has the divine stamp of approval, when the objective fact is that she’s burning bridges herself by preaching condemnation on everyone who isn’t a Christian as she defines the term. I say this without meanness - just reporting the reality of the situation. My point being that I don’t think a legitimate claim of persecution can be made when you are simply annoying and insulting people until they no longer wish to speak with you.

 

As far as real persecution goes, that of course is not limited to Christianity, or to religion in general. The civil rights movement received its share of persecution. Or on the other end: neo-Nazis today are persecuted by the mainstream consciousness (and rightly so of course). Also the Westboro Baptist church is often vandalized, etc. One hardly need mention Waco. So persecution doesn’t necessarily imply virtue on the part of the persecuted.

 

The truth is that persecution is just something that happens in an environment that, whether explicitly or implicitly, is intolerant of certain points of view. Most of the time this is not good, though some times it is good (as you have pointed out, it is really contradictory to be tolerant of intolerance). Persecution is only a sign that other people don’t agree with you. It is a social phenomenon, but in its most serious manifestations it is wedded to totalitarianism (think genocide and corporeal/capital punishments for dissenters). Freedom and egalitarianism stand opposite persecution as a social reality. So I would say that in most cases, persecution doesn't necessarily mean that a certain group is in the right, but that the persecutors are in the wrong. I can't say I'm familiar enough with progressive Christianity as a historical movement to judge if it is either being persecuted or doing the persecution. No doubt both are happening here and there.

 

Peace to you,

Mike

Edited by Mike
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Neon Genesis,

I think it's true that some people have an actual "persecution complex." It equates with holiness (in their eyes), so (they think) get as many people angry as you can! Name calling, put-downs, judging---anything to get a bit closer to God!

 

As far as "rights" go, I personally don't believe that Christians should be interested in "their rights," as their only real "right" is to the Kingdom of God. Their attention should be on the Kingdom, not on earthly problems. What's more, God will take care of them, so why complain? It's not really "persecution," just whining.

 

Mike,

I like your point about persecution occurring within all groups, not just Christian ones. I guess it's all a matter of perspective!

 

So the fact that persecution comes is not the alone indicator that one is walking as Jesus did. I think Love has the reason, in order for it to be "Christian persecution."

 

Blessings,

Brian

Edited by a higher way
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There are people who live good Christian lives in Christ Jesus who are persecuted not so much from non-Christians, but from professing Christians. Not all Christians, but these Churchians who persecute other Christians have a great deal of pride and arrogance because they are maintaining a large institution. Anything threatening the institution, as they know it makes them wrathful with a desire to persecute. They think to respect those who live the Truth and live saintly as followers of Jesus Christ if it is different from what they know will make their institution that has been stable for centuries crumble. Luther and Calvin are the only reformers so they will not accept or listen to any new expanded doctrine. They are persecuting the Truth and good people because of their misunderstanding so we have sympathy and do not feel angry with them, but we are not happy about it. I think most of us here have experienced this wrath at some time.

 

Hebrews 12 God disciplines His Sons

1Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

4In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons:

"My son, do not make light of the Lord's discipline,

and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,

6because the Lord disciplines those he loves,

and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son."[a]

7Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? 8If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. 9Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! 10Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. 11No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

12Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. 13"Make level paths for your feet," so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.

 

We seem to like persecution because it is a work out that teaches and shows us the will of God. In the short-run it is pain, but in the long-run it is gain.

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I can't say I'm familiar enough with progressive Christianity as a historical movement to judge if it is either being persecuted or doing the persecution. No doubt both are happening here and there.

 

 

An atheist organization offered to donate their money to the ACLU to support a lesbian who's school prom got banned because she was a lesbian and wanted to go with her girlfriend, but apparently the ACLU doesn't want the money because atheists are too controversial and causes the people of Mississippi to tremble with "terror": http://friendlyatheist.com/2010/03/31/aclu-rejects-atheists-money/
Remember the Mississippi high school that canceled prom because one of the students, Constance McMillen, wanted to attend with her girlfriend (and wear a tux)?

 

Remember how atheist Todd Stiefel donated $20,000 to the American Humanist Association so that they could help hold an alternative prom that would be inclusive of GLBT students?

 

Well, the ACLU is helping with the alternative prom, and they have a message for Stiefel and the AHA:

 

We don’t want your money.

 

They’re rejecting the gift.

 

You’ll never believe why:

 

“Although we support and understand organizations like yours, the majority of Mississippians tremble in terror at the word ‘atheist,’” Jennifer Carr, the fund-raiser for the A.C.L.U of Mississippi, wrote in an e-mail message to Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the humanist group.

 

 

Regarding the A.C.L.U. move, Ms. Carr wrote to Mr. Speckhardt: “Our staff has been talking a lot about your donation offer and have found ourselves in a bit of a conflict. We have fears that your organization sponsoring the prom could stir up even more controversy.”

 

 

Mr. Speckhardt said he was “really shocked” to hear the gift had been rejected. “We’ve worked with the A.C.L.U. many times in the past,” he said, “so this really felt like a slap in the face to me.”

 

 

“You’d think they would have learned a lesson from the very case they’ve been working on,” [stiefel] said. “The school board was trying to avoid a controversy by silencing a controversial minority, and now the A.C.L.U. is making the same mistake.”

 

The Mississippi Safe Schools Coalition (MSSC) is organizing the alternative prom and they don’t know why the ACLU is acting this way. They could certainly use the donation.

 

According to Matthew Sheffield, a spokesman for the Mississippi Safe Schools Coalition, the organization arranging the event, the A.C.L.U. of Mississippi did not have authority to decline the gift.

 

“We asked someone at the A.C.L.U. to assist us in handling all the donations, and that person told them we were not interested and that is not true,” he said.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Christians should not expect to be persecuted but rather accept persecution. To expect it would not be giving people enough credit. To expect it assumes there is not a natural goodness to people. Christians must however accept persecution with an open heart and use it to further Jesus's message

 

steve

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  • 1 month later...

The thread's question can be answered by what Jesus said in Mat 5:11; where He said, "Blessed are you when men cast insults at you, and persecute you... on account of Me."

Christians cannot expect not to be persecuted.

Paul seems to have been approached with a similar question, and answered as Jesus did in Mat 5:44, "...love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you.", in his epistle to Rome 12:14, for his bretheren in Jesus Christ to "Bless those who persecute you... ."

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I do agree with Mike and the others that most American Christians have no clue what persecution is like and that, if anything, right here and right now they're disproportionately likely to *be* the persecutors.

 

I can only imagine, for example, what it might be like to be Muslim in this country. Especially so after the 9/11 attacks, of course, but there was bad energy towards Muslims here long before that. I remember during the late 1980s, during the tit-for-tat stuff in the Persian Gulf that culminated in our shooting down the Iranian airliner, that somebody wrote a country song called "Chicken Shiites" and that it received a lot of airplay for a few days on our local country station. And yes, that title is a double entendre whose second meaning, beyond referring to the name of the Islamic grouping, should be more than easy to figure out. I wasn't very sympathetic to Muslims back then, but even then that title offended me, even took my breath away. It was that brazen.

 

I also remember the Iranian hostage crisis of 1979-81 and the 1973 oil embargo. W/r/t the latter I was a little kid then, but I distinctively remember by aunt taking me home from school one day and desperately trying to find an open gas station. Not good times.

 

More lately I've been following the anti-mosque brouhaha in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, for example. I have real fear that'll end with somebody getting hurt.

 

And Unitarian-Universalists....my hometown is in the metropolitan Knoxville, Tennessee area, and I went to UT for my undergraduate degree. I was Baptist at the time and never attended the UU church where the right-wing guy shot and killed so many people. But since my church involvement (such as it is) is at a UU church near me nowadays...yes, seeing what the Knoxville church went through does have emotional meaning for me. They got persecuted in the truest sense, in that some person, assuredly poor, misguided and pain stricken, entered their sacred space and presumed to take their lives. And he did this to them solely and specifically because of their faith and their social outlook, by his own admission, in a suicide note he'd written because he'd presumed the police would kill him. And he'd actually hoped to kill many more of them. And for myself, yes, when my wife and go to Sunday worship there occasionally, I think about somebody with a gun possibly entering our place of worship.

Edited by ParSal190
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ParSal, In 1978 I was in Iran teaching at the Iranian Air Force. When the revolution was at full steam, we were told that the Air Force bus could not take us home as they were afraid it would get damaged. My friend and fellow teacher was British and had blond hair and blue eyes. That day was very emotional because they were burning the banks and liquor stores. I had to walk with my friend through the heart of the action. The Muslims looked at us like we were crazy and then some came up to us and said don't worry we are angry at the American government, not Americans. They had respect for life. I had many encounters with Muslims in different Islamic countries where they helped, guided and treated me with love and kindness.

 

After 9/11 I was very disappointed that some Sikhs were killed. The Sikhs wear turbines as part of their religion, they are from India and traditionally are the enemy of the Muslims. Americans killed them in their own yards because they thought they were Muslim. I was disappointed that a Christian nation would act in such a fashion, a nation where hatred and political activism against and for is fanned in some churches. It is sad the hatred that is stirred up in some churches. It is the same hatred that is stirred up by some Muslim fanatics.

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  • 4 weeks later...

ParSal, In 1978 I was in Iran teaching at the Iranian Air Force. When the revolution was at full steam, we were told that the Air Force bus could not take us home as they were afraid it would get damaged. My friend and fellow teacher was British and had blond hair and blue eyes. That day was very emotional because they were burning the banks and liquor stores. I had to walk with my friend through the heart of the action. The Muslims looked at us like we were crazy and then some came up to us and said don't worry we are angry at the American government, not Americans. They had respect for life. I had many encounters with Muslims in different Islamic countries where they helped, guided and treated me with love and kindness.

 

After 9/11 I was very disappointed that some Sikhs were killed. The Sikhs wear turbines as part of their religion, they are from India and traditionally are the enemy of the Muslims. Americans killed them in their own yards because they thought they were Muslim. I was disappointed that a Christian nation would act in such a fashion, a nation where hatred and political activism against and for is fanned in some churches. It is sad the hatred that is stirred up in some churches. It is the same hatred that is stirred up by some Muslim fanatics.

"Turban"

'Turbine' is a rotary engine.

--

It is sorely regretable that some Americans were so angry over 9/11 that they killed those Sikhs. There is no place for such wanton behavior in this country.

When seeing the cheering crowds of Muslims televised from around the world, immediately after the 9/11 attack, Americans were justifiably enraged; and, I was amazed by the overall civility of the United States and its Christian citizenry.

--

 

Having lived in the Muslim Middle East, the constant persecution, whether public or private, of those with any faith other than Muslim, and particularly toward any individual professing a Jewish or Christian faith is not hidden, nor very subtle. I recall the kidnap and beheading of several individual non-Muslims on camera, for example.

In some Muslim controlled countries, they have no sympathy for any other religion, and they simply are banned from existing within their borders.

I, personally, have been publically persecuted, for just admitting to a Christian faith and being sympathetic to the Jewish faith, by a number of 'tolerant' Muslims.

They show no reserve whether in private or public.

--

 

Matt 5:11; Jesus said, "Blessed are you when men cast insults at you, and persecute you... on account of Me."

 

Christians are not to persecute; but, cannot expect not to be persecuted in return.

--

Islam claims a billion and a half believers. Muslims also admit, 20% of that population can be considered extremist.

 

That's 300,000,000 extremists, equaling nearly the entire population of the United States. So, tell me why the United States and Israel should not be concerned about their being persecuted, to death?

--

DavidK

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--

Islam claims a billion and a half believers. Muslims also admit, 20% of that population can be considered extremist.

 

That's 300,000,000 extremists, equaling nearly the entire population of the United States. So, tell me why the United States and Israel should not be concerned about their being persecuted, to death?

--

DavidK

 

 

I would recheck my figures and source if i were you David. Your 20% figure is quoting an extremist. My research shows that it would be more in line with 1% OR LESS. Perhaps the truth is somewhere in the middle but it depends on who is speaking for the Muslims.

 

Joseph

 

PS The ones that quote the higher figures say if you are faithful to the Quran than you are an extremist. But what most fail to realize is the Old testament can also be used to justify extremism as it was in the days of the crusades. The 5 pillars of Islam do not support killing non believers but as with the Bible there will always be people who will extract passages from the OT to justify their own selfish actions using God as their justification. There are divisions in all religions. Wiki reports "Extremists are from all religions and are every where. No statistics are available on the percentage of extremists of any religion in the US."

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"Turban"

 

Islam claims a billion and a half believers. Muslims also admit, 20% of that population can be considered extremist.

 

That's 300,000,000 extremists, equaling nearly the entire population of the United States. So, tell me why the United States and Israel should not be concerned about their being persecuted, to death?

--

DavidK

Catholicism is the largest Christian denomination in the world with a total of 1.2 billion members. The Catholic church admits that pedophile priests are a significant problem within the Catholic church but does that mean we should be concerned that all Catholics are pedophiles?
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I don't wish to quibble over trying to determine an exact number of extremists/terrorists among the Islamic populations. I know I would be taking a leap with any effort to try and pin it down to any specific number.

Regardless of the precision any of the current estimates, they all share that there is a significant number and large enough to be a cause of great concern to the peaceful Jewish and "Jew loving" populations of the world.

-

In any war, there is abuse and the risk of abuse. When one needs an excuse to be abusive(sin)- any will do.

The best way to abuse the Old Testament is to create a deception by taking things out of context.

--

 

That's quite extraordinary, but I must resent any sort of implication that I may have given anyone reason to think I was concerned that all Muslims were terrorists.

The number of pedophiles in the Roman Catholic priesthood is a bothersome issue for the Catholics. Some have said it is no greater than in the general population. I can't say one way or another.

There have been sited a number of reasons and causes for what does appear to be an elevated number associated with the Priesthood. But that is not germaine to this thread.

Parents watch over your children.

-

 

The point is: Christians, and Jews, should be prepared to be persecuted and threatened. These peaceful and freedom loving people are often perceived as weak and vulnerable by others. These others are not constrained by what we recognize as moral behavior, and will use any means to gain advantage over the 'weak' and the innocent.

Muslim nations have generally been bent on Israel's destruction since their peaceful founding in 1948.

Saudi Arabia, for example, has had a declared war against Israel since then. If you have an Israeli stamp on your passport, you will be denied entrance to SA. They blacken out any references to Israel in the news or printed material. They will even go so far as to use a black marker to blot out Israel from maps and globes. They refuse to acknowledge Israel's right to exist.

Lest we forget, Osama Bin Laden is a Saudi. His feelings on the 'Great Satan", of course, stem from the U.S.'s Christian relationship with Israel.

Islam, whether in Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Jordan, Morocco, Libya, Kuwait, Algeria, Sudan, Tunisia, the PLO, Pakistan, Hamas, Hezbollah, Muslim Brotherhood, Holy War Army, Arab Liberation Army, Lebanese Communist Party, Amal, Lebanese National Resistance Front, Syrian Social Nationalist Party, Parti Karkerani Kurdistan, Yemen, or the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, tends to find any means available to them, to war with and persecute Israel and her allies. Cuba and North Korea have also been complicit.

We can shout love and peace alongside many Muslims, if not most, until we are blue in the face, but until Islam and the Socialists universally preach to stop the persecution and the killing, there is not likely to be an end. And that appears not likely to happen.

-

DavidK

Edited by davidk
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It seems to me that the real question of this thread is "Should Christians Expect To Be Persecuted" The key word in the question in my view is EXPECT. My own personal view does not follow the typical teachings and would be an emphatic.... No.

 

Allow me to explain. In my experience, one often attracts what one Expects. Persecution is defined as.. " the systematic mistreatment of an individual or group by another group". Let me say up front that while we can indeed find many passages in the Bible to indicate that Christians have been or will be persecuted, we can also find passages that say such things as " a thousand shall fall by my side and ten thousand at my right hand yet it shall not come nigh me" and "He shall keep them in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Him and He delivereth me from mine enemies: and " These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. " How can one be of good cheer expecting persecution? Overcoming is in my view, going beyond the appearance of expectations of persecution where no offence is taken and even our enemies are loved. Blessed are the peacemakers.

If i am surrendered in Christ, how can i be mistreated?" If i have taken the yoke of Christ upon me, isn't it recorded saying Jesus said that that yoke would be easy and the burden light? Why should i expect mistreatment. How can i be persecuted if i am in perfect peace?

 

While it is clear to me one can reasonably argue that Christians are mistreated, so are many other individuals or groups of individuals. Why should a Christian Expect persecution? TO EXPECT is "To look forward to the probable occurrence or appearance of:" In my view, a Christian should look forward to the "coming of Christ" occurrence or appearance within and not persecution.

 

 

Just one mans way of looking at the question...

Joseph

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Qur'an Burning: The 5 Steps that Brought Us to this Point and Why Religious Communities Must Resist

 

From a small right-wing church in Florida, there has gone out a call to burn copies of the Quran on September 11. Instead of being ignored as clearly cuckoo, this call won national media coverage.

 

As the German Jewish poet Heinrich Heine wrote almost two centuries ago, "Those who begin by burning books will end by burning people." The theater piece for which he wrote those words, called "Almansor," was addressing the Inquisition's burning of the Quran. In 1933, university students in Heine's own beloved homeland burned his books, along with many others. They burned people soon after.

 

Many American religious communities and organizations, as well as secular groups like Common Cause, have condemned this call for burning. The road to burning people is by no means so open here, now, as it was in Germany in 1933.

 

But still, we need to face the question: How did we get to the point where some Americans would burn a sacred book, and many more oppose the building of a sacred mosque in their own town--not only in Lower Manhattan, but in many other neighborhoods?

 

It would be easy to start with the aftermath of the terror attacks against the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001. But hostility and ignorance of Christians toward Islam goes back centuries earlier. And the hostility of Jews toward Islam, on top of the ignorance of almost all European and American Jews about Islam, goes back at least to 1948.

 

A very good summary and well worth reading.

 

Read the article Here

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For pity's sake, Joseph, you're beginning to sound like one of those 'prosperity' evangelists on TV.

 

It was for making the claims of who He was, that Jesus was persecuted and mistreated to death by the 'world'. Should anyone believing Jesus was who He said he was, expect any less? Believers should be aware and prepared.

If you claim who Jesus said He was, where only by His life, death, and resurrection is there a basis of salvation, you will be persecuted.

Jesus' overcame the world (what do you think the resurrection was all about, anyway?), making certain the believer's future, as well as the unbelievers. Putting on the yoke of Jesus Christ, is the certainty of Jesus Christ, and all that that entails. Then, you have a reason to be of good cheer, no matter what crap the world throws at you.

Because He said so, Jesus Christ is our only hope.

-

Just the Biblical way to look at the question.

DavidK

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For pity's sake, Joseph, you're beginning to sound like one of those 'prosperity' evangelists on TV.

 

It was for making the claims of who He was, that Jesus was persecuted and mistreated to death by the 'world'. Should anyone believing Jesus was who He said he was, expect any less? Believers should be aware and prepared.

If you claim who Jesus said He was, where only by His life, death, and resurrection is there a basis of salvation, you will be persecuted.

Jesus' overcame the world (what do you think the resurrection was all about, anyway?), making certain the believer's future, as well as the unbelievers. Putting on the yoke of Jesus Christ, is the certainty of Jesus Christ, and all that that entails. Then, you have a reason to be of good cheer, no matter what crap the world throws at you.

Because He said so, Jesus Christ is our only hope.

-

Just the Biblical way to look at the question.

DavidK

 

 

david,

 

Once again you state what for you is the "Biblical way to look at the question" and imply (virtually state) that your own reading and understanding defines a "Christian". This is sad and unnecessary.

 

For me, Joseph merely quoted, beside certain Biblical verses that speak of "persecution", others that speak of a peace that passes understanding, a peace that is indeed promised to those who live within the "presence of Christ", irrespective of persecution.

 

There is, perhaps, a peace that is all too understandable; and as far as the actual presence of Christ is concerned, no one can dictate where it may be, or to whom it has come, or will come. Grace has something to do with it.

 

And I would just add that many in this world have sufferred persecution, a persecution that has had absolutely nothing whatsover to do with spreading a Christian fundamenatalist/conservative/literalist reading of the Bible, or any other reading in any explicit way. They to have suffered for and in Christ..............as far as I understand it. Such have loved, turned the other cheek............and have paid the price.

Edited by tariki
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It was for making the claims of who He was, that Jesus was persecuted and mistreated to death by the 'world'. Should anyone believing Jesus was who He said he was, expect any less? Believers should be aware and prepared.

 

DavidK

Given recent attempts to burn down a Muslim mosque and a Muslim man that was stabbed because he was a Muslim, I frankly think it's more likely that Christians will persecute Muslims than the other way around. Edited by Neon Genesis
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As good Christians we have to own up to our failures and preaching hatred in our churches is a failure to follow Jesus. I feel being a Christian is not in name only, but in no longer being confrontational for negative and emotional reasons as we tune ourselves to the higher energies of love. May we all enjoy the deeper inner life and not let others kill the tender merciful presence of God.

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I fail to see any connection whatsoever between a 'prosperity' evangelist and what Joseph posted.

Well, it was more whimsical exaggeration than some seem to have understood.

Be that as it may, prosperity preachers insist good fortune, good health, and an unquestioned, trouble free faith and life are to be expected when you become a Christian. Joseph had asked some questions similar to that 'set up' used by some of those TV preachers; such as: "How can one be of good cheer expecting persecution?"; and "If i am surrendered in Christ, how can i be mistreated?"

 

Joseph is optimistic.

 

I feel that the prosperity gospel is a sham, not Joseph.

-

 

I believe Christians have a reason to be optimistic. That optimism is in who Jesus is, what He said, and what He has done. No matter the illness, bankruptcy, or persecution, Christians should be of good cheer, because the hope of the future has been assured by Jesus' work.

 

I expect we will all encounter pain, sadness, and perhaps even be persecuted for what we believe. But here's the difference: The Bible teaches that the Christian should likewise expect that; but also, that the Christian has a reason to be optimistic, of good cheer, regardless of the pain, sadness, or persecution.

If anyone finds that sad, unnecessary, un-Biblical, or un-Christian, well, that's fine, too. It just appears the comment was made when the point had been overlooked.

-

 

The recent comment concerning the Mosque missed the point; and may very well be factually incorrect concerning Christian involvement.

--

God's Grace to you,

DavidK

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If the world were causing our emotional reactions, we would all react the same, but we don't. We react in different ways because we tell ourselves different stories about different events. The politicians are playing to the base of emotional reactions, which is fear. Our Nation was founded on Christian values not terrorism so I resent politicians and some church leaders for spreading anger, fear, hate and resentment to manipulate the masses. On the cross Jesus said,"Forgive them Father for they know not what they do". Forgiveness is possible if we tell that story. Muslims did not perpetrate 9/11, the fault is with Al Qaeda, a small terrorist organization. Forgiveness isn't profitable so people are propagating hate which attracts attention, viewers and donations.This propagation is not American, not Christian, and is hurting America, our soldiers and our youth. Our soldiers are placed in harms way, America's image is tarnished and our youth are fed hate instead of love. Christianity is not about burning the Koran it is about the Bible, love and forgiveness.

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minsocal

Qur'an Burning: The 5 Steps that Brought Us to this Point and Why Religious Communities Must Resist
is an excellent discussion of the current stresses forces that motivate us today. And we might also take a longer look historically.

 

It is difficult to step into the middle of a fight and decide who threw the first punch when the beginning cannot be known. I don't know if it can. Because of the length of this East-West conflict over oil and religion the hatreds and animosities lie deep in the hearts of the combatants. We can and should acknowledge the role of Europe and America in this long struggle. As you know my knowledge never runs deep but I offer two moments in history (Wikipedia) as we consider who are the peace seeking people and who are not.

 

3rd Crusade

Hattin and the fall of Jerusalem prompted the Third Crusade, financed in England by a special "Saladin tithe". Richard I of England (Richard the Lionheart) led Guy's siege of Acre, conquered the city and executed 3000 Muslim prisoners including women and children.[90] Saladin retaliated by killing all Franks captured from August 28 – September 10. Bahā' ad-Dīn writes, "Whilst we were there they brought two Franks to the Sultan (Saladin) who had been made prisoners by the advance guard. He had them beheaded on the spot."

 

1894-96

The Dreyfus, [a French artillery officer of Jewish background] affair makes the problem of antisemitism prominent in Western Europe.

After covering the trial and aftermath of Captain Dreyfus and witnessing the associated mass anti-Semitic rallies in Paris, which included chants, "Death to Jews", Jewish-Austro-Hungarian journalist Theodor Herzl writes Der Judenstaat (The Jewish State) advocating the creation of a Jewish state.

European, and Russian, antisemitism - the solution crudely put: "Let's end our antisemitism by sending the Jews to their own reservation." Both groups of Semites, Israel and Arabs, have good reason, being terrified at the potential destruction of their culture and people, to be terrorists. Yes, in my mind, Israel is a terrorist nation. You can pull fighting kids apart and send them to their quiet places. I don't see such a simple answer for the Israel-Palestinian conflict. But we should probably acknowledge our complicity before claiming to be the only peace loving people there.

 

Take Care

 

Dutch

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If anyone should feel politicians and church leaders can manipulate the masses, then they must also know there is a great deal of commonality in man's reactions and emotions. For it is that very commonality that forms a basis for solving our needs through Medicine and Law, as well as even making manipulation a possibility.

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Al Qaeda is a group of dedicated, devout Muslims. It is folly to say Muslims did not perpetrate the 9/11 attacks. Should that indict all Muslims- no. But many do acknowledge their complicity. Again, I recall Muslims crowds around the world cheering at the time of the WTC collapse.

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If we eliminated hate, anger, fear, and resentment, then these God given defensive weapons against evil would no longer exist.

It is right to have righteous anger against unrighteous anger. God hates hate. It is not only that we should love as God loves, but we should also hate what God hates.

 

We should forgive, as God forgives, the misuse of those weapons.

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The battles of the Middle East are indeed legendary. Who struck the first blow may always be a contentious topic. The guilty quite often blame their victim.

Despite that, both sides of the conflict have an undisputed common factor, Abraham. Both sides know of Isaac and Ishmael. And even though both of these sons were prophesied to be the fathers of great nations, both sides know which was the legitimate son of Abraham, and know the prophesy of who would stand in defiance of the other.

 

This Semite conflict continues until today.

 

The prophecy of the Jews finally having their own nation seems to have been fulfilled, yet Ishmael's descendants still continue to stand defiantly in the face of Isaac's.

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The Arab Semites have vast territories in comparison to the tiny sliver of land we know as Israel. Yet, have any Arabs offered sanctuary for their outcast brothers, the 'Palestinians'? It may be because they, themselves, look down their noses at the Palestinians as ne'er-do-wells, and really want nothing to do with them aside from taking Isreal off the map; giving rise to what we know today as- terrorism.

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In 2007, Muslims had taken up the issue of burning holy books, but in this case... :

 

It was Father Manuel Musallem, head of Gaza's Latin church, who reported to the Associated Press that Muslim crowds burned and looted a school/convent that were part of Gaza's small Roman Catholic community. Father Musallem told the Jerusalem Post that these Muslim's first used RPG's (rocket-propeled grenades) to blast open the church and school before burning the Bibles and destroying every cross in sight.

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I don't think it arguable that either side can maintain a 'good' reason to: become terroristic. Yet, it seems, one side has actually chosen to.

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DavidK

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