Wednesday 14 January 2015

January 2015: Trying to make sense of the recent events in Paris

Jesus answered [Pilate before his crucifixion], “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world” (John 18:36).

Two mutually exclusive worldviews clashed last week in France over the Charlie Hebdo depictions of cartoons regarding Islam. What can you say, what can you make of this? Having seen some of the cartoons in the media, I was not impressed with such aggressive secular cartoons, making light of what others consider to be very important. The West seem to have risen up en masse to protest for the importance of free speech. But what is free speech? My ears pricked up when after the events of the killings in the offices of Charlie Hebdo by some Muslim young men, that a French secular commentator spoke of the "sacred value of free speech". When you disect and analyse such a comment, it is indeed a self-contradictory statement.

Here are two worldviews clashing in France and indeed in the West. It must be perplexing for Muslim's living in the West by choice, to find that in contrast to many of the countries where they have come from, that the West does not offer undue respect for Islam or the teachings of Islam. Furthermore, the West do not uphold that Islam is sacred, anymore than other things may be sacred. Though the West has had a Christian heritage, in many parts, this has given way to a strong secular and even atheistic agenda. Muslim's must realise that the Charlie Hebdo situation has no link with Christianity, but with secularism.

Likewise the West and its secular agenda need to wake up on several fronts. The West must realise that Islam is essentially a political ideology and that its teaching requires legal support by the state to uphold its values for it to fully succeed. Hence the calls for Sharia Law and the takeover of Islam in Western countries. For some reason certain facets regarding Islam are just never discussed in the public sphere, even though we are told we believe in free speech. Many of the Western leaders are highly intolerant of religion, indeed they have little time for religion and quite frankly they do not believe in the sacred value of free speech, but only when it suits them.

Currently, the West promotes a secular atheistic, anti-marriage (by Christian definition) and pro-homosexual or trans-gender programme. For some strange reason the sacred value of free speech breaks down when people say they disagree with their worldview. For example for anyone to have an interview at a University in the West and openly say that they believe that Jesus is the only way to heaven and that all other views are false and also that they reject evolution as an unbiblical and untenable scientific theory; would they be given the job? Almost definitely not, because they are rejecting the pluralistic, multi-faith so-called "free speech" platform. It is a so-called free speech agenda with rules defined by secular humanists.

Two final thoughts. Karl Marx once wrote that: "Religious distress is at the same time the expression of real distress and the protest against real distress. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation. It is the opium of the people. The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions".

Sadly, in the West today, materialism is often the opium of the people.

The Bible is very clear and it has unique claims which will be rejected by secularists and followers of Islam alike and similarly both will be intolerant of the sayings of the Bible. For example "Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" (John 14:6). Both the secularists and the teachers of Islam are wrong regarding Jesus Christ and both are equally intolerant and both equally forbid freedom of speech regarding the claims of Jesus Christ. Jesus said that "I am not of this world. I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins” (John 8:23-24). If Muslim's and secularists do not confess and acknowledge that Jesus is God's Saviour and the only promised Redeemer of men and women sent by God, then they will die in their sins and face the judgment of God without a Saviour. That is the truth.

For Christians, be encouraged that we do not fight flesh and blood. This world is inherently sinful, and yet our God of heaven is in control. Pray for all peoples to saved and to be brought to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

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