Illustration results for world religions
Martin Luther said ďA religion that does nothing, that saves nothing, that gives nothing, that cost nothing, that suffers nothing, is worth nothing.Ē
I would like to read you something I came across this week. It was written by a man named Tamim Ansary– who is an Afghani-American writer [ taken from Salon.com ]. I don’t generally like to read something of this length, but I think it is important for us to hear.
[start quote] I’ve been hearing a lot of talk about "bombing Afghanistan back to the Stone Age." Ronn Owens, on KGO Talk Radio today, allowed that this would mean killing innocent people, people who had nothing to do with this atrocity, but "we’re at war, we have to accept collateral damage. What else can we do?" Minutes later I heard some TV pundit discussing whether we "have the belly to do what must be done." And I thought especially hard about the issues being raised because I am from Afghanistan, and even though I’ve lived here for 35 years I’ve never lost track of what’s going on there. So I want to tell anyone who will listen how it all looks from where I’m standing.
I speak as one who hates the Taliban and Osama Bin Laden. There is no doubt in my mind that these people were responsible for the atrocity in New York. I agree that something must be done about those monsters. But the Taliban and Ben Laden are not Afghanistan. They’re not even the government of Afghanistan. The Taliban are a cult of ignorant psychotics who took over Afghanistan in 1997. Bin Laden is a political criminal with a plan. When you think Taliban, think Nazis. When you think Bin Laden, think Hitler. And when you think "the people of Afghanistan" think "the Jews in the concentration camps."
It’s not only that the Afghan people had nothing to do with this atrocity. They were the first victims of the perpetrators. They would exult if someone would come in there, take out the Taliban and clear out the rats nest of international thugs holed up in their country. Some say, why don’t the Afghans rise up and overthrow the Taliban? The answer is, they’re starved, exhausted, hurt, incapacitated, suffering.
A few years ago, the United Nations estimated that there are 500,000 disabled orphans in Afghanistan--a country with no economy, no food. There are millions of widows. And the Taliban has been burying these widows alive in mass graves. The soil is littered with land mines. The farms were all destroyed by the Soviets. These are a few of the reasons why the Afghan people have not overthrown the Taliban.
We come now to the question of bombing Afghanistan back to the Stone Age. Trouble is, that’s been done. The Soviets took care of it already.
Make the Afghans suffer? They’re already suffering.
Level their houses? Done.
Turn their schools into piles of rubble? Done.
Eradicate their hospitals? Done.
Destroy their infrastructure? Cut them off from medicine and health care? Too late. Someone already did all that. New bombs would only stir the rubble of earlier bombs.
Would they at least get the Taliban? Not likely. In today’s Afghanistan, only the Taliban eat, only they have the means to move around. They’d slip away and hide. Maybe the bombs would get some of those disabled orphans; they don’t move too fast, they don’t even have wheelchairs. But flying over Kabul and dropping bombs wouldn’t really be a strike against the criminals who did this horrific thing. Actually it would only be making common cause with the Taliban--by raping once again the people they’ve been raping all this time [end quote]
If I Were the Devil
If I were the prince of darkness, I’d want to engulf the world in darkness, and I’d have a third of its real estate, and I’d have four-fifths of its population, but I wouldn’t be happy until I had seized the ripest apple on the tree. THEE. So I’d set about however necessary to take over the United States. I’d subvert the churches first. I’d begin with a campaign of whispers. With the wisdom of a serpent, I would whisper to you as I whispered to Eve. DO AS YOU PLEASE. To the young, I would whisper that the Bible is a myth, I would convince them that man created God, instead of the other way around. I would confide that what’s bad is good, and what’s good is square. And the old, I would teach to pray, after me, "our father, which is in Washington." And then I’d get organized. I’d educate authors in how to make lewd literature exciting so that anything else would appear dull and uninteresting. I’d threaten TV with dirtier movies and vice versa. I’d peddle narcotics to whom I could; I’d sell alcohol to ladies and gentlemen of distinction. I’d tranquilize the rest with pills.
If I were the devil I’d soon have families that war with themselves, churches that war with themselves, and nations that war with themselves, until each in its turn was consumed, and with promises of higher ratings, I’d have mesmerizing media fanning the flames.
If I were the devil, I would encourage schools to refine young intellects, but neglect to discipline emotions, just let them run wild, until before you knew it, you’d have to have drug sniffing dogs and metal detectors at every school house door.
Within a decade I’d have prisons overflowing, I’d have judges promoting pornography. Soon I could evict God from the courthouse, then from the schoolhouse, and then from the houses of Congress. And in His own churches, I would substitute psychology for religion, and deify science. I would lure priest and pastors into misusing boys and girls, and church money.
If I were the devil, I’d make the symbol of Easter an egg and the symbol of Christmas, a bottle. And what’ll you bet I couldn’t get whole states to promote gambling as the way to get rich. I would caution against extremes, in hard work, in patriotism, and in moral conduct. I would convince the young that marriage is old fashioned, that swinging is more fun. That what you see on TV is the way to be, and thus I could undress you in public, and I could lure you into bed with diseases for which there is no cure.
In other words, If I were the devil, I’d just keep right on doing what he’s doing.
- From a Paul Harvey Broadcast
ALL THE DIFFERENCE
All but four of the major world religions are based on mere philosophical propositions. Of the four that are based on personalities rather than philosophies, only Christianity claims an empty tomb for its founder.
In 1900 B.C. Judaismís Father Abraham died. In 483 B.C. Buddhist writings say Buddha died ďwith that utter passing away in which nothing whatever remains behind.Ē June 6, 632 A.D. Mohammed died. .
In 33 A.D. Jesus died but came back to life appearing to 500 people over a period of 40 days.
ďAnd if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is you...
The official position of Islam is that her martyrs go directly to heaven:
The Prophet said, "The person who participates in (Holy battles) in Allah's cause and nothing compels him to do so except belief in Allah and His Apostles, will be recompensed by Allah either with a reward, or booty (if he survives) or will be admitted to Paradise (if he is killed in the battle as a martyr). Had I not found it difficult for my followers, then I would not remain behind any sariya going for Jihad and I would have loved to be martyred in Allah's cause and then made alive, and then martyred and then made alive, and then again martyred in His cause." (Sahih Bukhari 1.35, also Sahih Bukhari 4.386) It is therefore not difficult to understand why some extremist Muslims (eg. the Hamas) were willing to die for their terrorist acts. Jesus said:] "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven"
Whatís the main idea?
On his many caravan rides along the trading route between
Syria and Arabia, a merchant named Muhammad observed people of
all kinds of faiths. He became increasingly concerned that
people were straying from ethical and moral responsibility. In
A.D. 610, when Muhammad was 40 years old, the angel Gabriel
allegedly commanded him to become a prophet, calling people
back to the truth. The foundation of Islam was laid.
Islam is the second-largest religion in the world (after
Christianity), claiming one billion followers, called Muslims.
The religion hangs on the phrase, "There is no god but Allah
and Muhammad is his prophet." Allah (Arabic for "God") is
alone to be worshiped. So itís a big mistake to think Muslims
view Muhammad the same way Christians view Jesus. Muhammad was
not a deity to be worshiped, but the last and greatest
prophet -- someone who brought a perfect message from God.
Muslims arenít concerned as much about the right beliefs as
they are about the right actions. In "submitting to the will
of God" (thatís the meaning of the word "Islam"), they stick
to the Five Pillars, a set of important requirements that
includes regular charity, praying five times a day, and making
at least one hajj, or pilgrimage to Mecca (Islamís holy city).
In addition to this, most Muslims devoutly refrain from
alcohol, drugs, gambling, and certain foods such as pork. The
Qurían (or Koran), which Muslims believe is the written
recollection of the visions Muhammad received, is the most
important text, although our Old and New Testaments are also
significant in Islam.
ANY COMMON GROUND?
Christians and Muslims share a lot of similar beliefs. For
instance, Moses, Jacob, and David are influential in both
faiths. And Muslims have enormous respect for Jesus, seeing
him as the second-greatest prophet. Muslims also believe in
Jesusí virgin birth and his miracles, even saying heís the
WHAT SETS US APART?
Muslims donít believe in Jesusí death and resurrection, and
they consider the Christian claim of Jesusí divinity
blasphemous. In Islam, Muhammad is the greatest and most
authentic prophet. While they think highly of the Bible,
Muslims think the Qurían is the true Word of God. Most
significantly, the Christian concept of grace is completely
absent in Islam. Allah is relatively cold and removed, and the
principles of right and wrong, doís and doníts, form the
foundation of the faith.
Dr. James Lewis, Associate Professor of World Religions at
Wheaton College and Campus Life.
June 26, 2002
THE FASHION OF PLURALISM
While religious pluralism may be a novel experience for us, it is putting us in touch with the world that surrounded the biblical authors.
The pluralism and the paganism of Our Time were the common experience of the prophets and apostles. In Mesopotamia, there were thousands of gods and goddesses, many of which were known to the Israelites--indeed, sometimes known too well...
Nothing, therefore, could be more remarkable than to hear the contention, even from those within the Church, that the existence of religious pluralism today makes belief in the uniqueness of Christianity quite impossible. Had this been the necessary consequence of encountering a multitude of other religions, Moses, Isaiah, Jesus, and Paul would have given up biblical faith long before it became fashionable ... to do so.
SOURCE: Pluralism Is Not New, Citation: David Wells in No Place for Truth, or, Whatever Happened to Evangelical Theology? Christianity Today, Vol. 38, no. 8. Contributed by A. Todd Coget.
HOTTUBS AND JESUS
ďThe other day ...as I sat there savoring hot tubness, cracking small jokes and adjusting to the feel of being bubbled over from all angles, it struck me that the hot tub is the perfect symbol of the modern route in religion. The hot tub experience is sensuous, relaxing, floppy, laid-back: not in any way demanding ...but very, very nice, even to the point of being great fun.
Many today want Christianity to be like that and labor to make it so. The ultimate step, of course, would be to clear church auditoriums of seats and install hot tubs in their place; then there would never be any attendance problems.
But if there were no more to our Christianity than hot tub factors-a self- absorbed hedonism of relaxation and happy feelings, while...
"It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible." --George Washington
"It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ. For this reason peoples of other faiths have been afforded asylum, prosperity and freedom of worship here." --Patrick Henry
"We have staked the future of all our political institutions upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God." --James Madison
"There is a striking parallel between the condition of the country and the church. As the Constitution means little to Americans today, so too the Bible means little to the average church member. Church members generally are as ignorant of the Bible as are Americans of the Constitution. Too many people within our borders are Americans in name but un-American in their hearts and anti-American in their conduct. The church has a corresponding ailment, Christians in name, but in reality are only once -born children of Adam. The American spirit is sadly eroded today by distrust, by corruption in high places, by moral decay. It wonít be restored merely by flag-wavings and drum-beatings and Fourth of July speeches. It may not be possible to raise a new crop of patriots in such shallow soil. It may take disaster to make us realize what we had. There is also a Christian spirit in the church that has that need. When in the nation and in the church we humble ourselves, pray, seek Godís face, and turn from our wicked ways, then God will hear from heaven, forgive our sin, and heal our land." --Vance Havner
NOT THE ONLY LIGHT!
On July 06, 2000, Hugh Downs the guest host on the Larry King Live Show lead a round table discussion on the questions, "Who is Jesus? And why is there such a fascination with that question now?" Among his guests was Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, Dean of Oxford Líchaim Society. During the discussion, Boteach said, "Jesus was a great teacher, a very ethical, moral, human being -- perhaps in our opinion, not a prophet, but certainly a phenomenal teacher and Christianity is a great world religion . . .and while I agree he is a great light, once we say he is the only light, this is what leads to all kinds of spiritual racism and a division between Jews and Christians."
SOURCE: Fresh Illustrations, http://www.freshministry.org/illustrations.html