Christians are the ‘salt and light’ of the World

The ethical message of ‘salt and light’, Matthew 5:13-16) is part of the broader teachings of Christ called the Sermon on the Mount, which is the first of five great treatises recorded in Matthew (Ch. 5-7; 10; 13; 18; 24-25). Which consists of three types of materials, 1) the beatitudes, i.e., declarations of blessedness (5: 1-12), 2) ethical admonitions (5: 13-20; 6: 1-7:23), and 3) contrasts between Jesus ethical teachings and Jewish legalistic traditions (5: 21-48). The Sermons ends with a short parable stressing the importance of practising what has just been taught (7: 24-27) and an expression of amazement by the crowds at the authority with which Jesus spoke (7: 28-29).

Sentiments vary among theologians as to whether the Sermon is a summary of what Jesus taught on one occurrence or an accumulation of teachings presented on several occasions. Matthew then would possibly have taken a single sermon and extended it with other relevant teachings of Jesus. Whatever side you agree with, what is undeniable is the Sermon on the Mount is a call to moral and ethical living. Its principled call is so high that some have dismissed it as being absolute, impractical in an application and therefore have projected its fulfilment to the future kingdom. However, there is no doubt, that Jesus, as recorded by Matthew, gave the sermon as a standard for all Christians, realising that its demands cannot be met in our own power, but by the presence of the Holy Spirit guiding us along the way. Also true is that Jesus on occasion used hyperbole to make His point.

Therefore, here is Jesus in His Homily using the concepts of salt and light, which He has done on a number of different times to refer to the role of His followers in the world. One such instance as written here in Matthew 5:13: ‘You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot’. Back in the days, in the Middle Eastern world, of Christ and the Apostles, first century AD, Salt had two purposes, ‘flavouring and preservatives’. Many of us take our fridges a 19th-century invention, for granted many shoppers often seen pulling their groceries from their cars and loading them in our refrigerators weekly. Nevertheless, in those days it was not so, and because of the lack of refrigeration, salt was applied to preserve food, especially meat that would quickly spoil in the desert environment. The concept of believers in Christ being the preservatives to the world, is powerful (Psa. 14:3; Rom. 8:8). The presence of Christians preserves the world from the evil that is inherent in the society of ungodly men whose unredeemed natures are corrupted by sin.

Likewise, salt was used then, as now, as a flavour enhancer. In the same manner that salt improves the taste of the food it flavours, the followers of Christ stand out as those who ‘improve’ the flavour of life in this world. Christians, living under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and in obedience to Christ, will inevitably influence the world for good, as salt has a positive influence on the taste of the food it seasons. So that where there is strife, Christians are to be peacemakers; where there is sorrow, he is to be the ministers of Christ, healing wounds, and where there is hatred, he is to demonstrate the love of God in Christ, returning good in the place of evil (Luke 6:35).

In the similarity of light to the world, the good deeds of Christ’s followers are to shine for the entire world to see. Now examine how Matthew 5 highlights this truth: ‘You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. ‘Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven’ (Matt. 5:14-16, NIV). The impression Christ is giving here is similar, the presence of light in the darkness is something that is unmistakable. Therefore the presence of Christians in the world must be likened to the light in the darkness, not only in the sense that the truth of God’s Word brings light to the darkened hearts of sinful man (John 1:1-10), but correspondingly in the sense that Christian’s good deeds must be evident for all to see. Moreover, indeed, our actions will be obvious if they are done in accordance with the other principles that Jesus references in His Sermon, such as the Beatitudes in Matthew 5:3-11. Particularly take note that Christ concern is not that Christians would stand out for their own sake, but that those who looked on and become aware of their status in Christ, might be led to ‘glorify your Father in heaven’ (v. 16).

In light of these teachings, Christians should take serious note of the sorts of things that could hinder or prevent us from fulfilling our roles as salt and light in the world. The sermon plainly states that the difference between the Christian and the world must be preserved; therefore, any activity on our part that shadows the difference between Christians and the rest of the world is a step in the wrong direction. This can happen either through a choice to accept the ways of the world for the sake of comfort or expediency or to disregard the law of obedience to Christ.

How often do we hear the term peace being floated about, yet we see an environment packed with tension? ‘Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with each other’ (Mark 9:50). The proposal here is that saltiness can be lost specifically through a lack of peace with one another. Therefore, to maintain our salt flavour we are commanded to have peace among us. Likewise, ‘Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure heap; it is thrown out’, (Luke 14:34-35). Here we find a reference to the metaphor of salt once again, this time in the context of obedient discipleship to Jesus Christ. This loss of saltiness occurs in the failure of the Christian to daily take up the cross and follows Christ enthusiastically.

Apparently, then, the character of the Christian as salt and light in the world could stall or prohibited through any decision to collaborate or settle for that which is more expedient or comfortable, rather than that which is truly best and pleasing to the Lord. Moreover, the status of salt and light is something that follows naturally from the Christian’s humble obedience to the commandments of Christ. If we abolish the commandments, and teach men so, on what basis can we guide our spiritual walk and in obedience to Christ? It is when we depart from the Spirit-led lifestyle of obedience and genuine discipleship that the distinctions between ourselves and the rest of the world become hazy and our testimony is stalled. However, by remaining focused on Christ and being obedient to Him can we expect to remain salt and light in the world? However, the concept of Christianity is seen as a myth to the wider world, and they say it cannot be proven by science. In the eyes of philosophers it beyond reason, that Christians are foolish and using ‘God as a crutch’. In the eyes of many, the stock of the world jokes, trampled under feet, harassed and killed for their faith in many countries, Christ is saying without you, the ‘Christian’, the world would have no light, and no taste!

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If you Judge – You are playing God!

If you are like me, you are inclining to judge yourself more punitively than others ever will. Though they do not know that when they judge you, that they are second in line. But also they judged you with an air of self-righteousness, ‘that could never happen to me’, how could he do that? When in fact they have done worst, that is if night becomes day, and all hidden secrets revealed, becomes open truths. They are going against the advice of Scripture too, ‘Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way as you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. ‘Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, “Let me take the speck out of your eye,” when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye (Matt 7: 1-5). This advice came from Christ lips to His followers, Christians, and the advice is not to judge hypocritically or self-righteously as can be seen from the context. Christ expressed similar thoughts further up in chapter 23: 13 – 39. To obey Christ command according to this text we must first evaluate a person’s character, whether he is a ‘dog, or a false prophet, or whether his/her life shows fruit. Repeatedly in the Scriptures Christians are exhorted to evaluate each other carefully and choose between good and evil people and things and those who masquerade as angels of light (2Cor. 11: 14).

Many of us have become experts, masters of the art in judging others, you aren’t even readily aware, when they do it to you or someone you know, not until it later register when you have time to reflect. Moreover, you think, my God, did he just do that or why did he say that? Since judging others means that we are having or displaying an overly critical point of view, and we are taking the place of God, He hates it not only because it is wrong, but because we are taking His place which no man is in the position to do. The problem of leaky lips, betraying confidence, being overly critical of others, taking a spiritually superior position is particularly rife among modern leaders. We walk around with that aura of authority, oh look at us, we have never commit a fault, we are blameless from birth, but when we hear something, instead of speaking to them in confidence, help them to overcome their weakness, praying for them, we pass judgement, we condemn rather than heal, because we become little gods. So much so that many are reluctant, church members will not approach their leaders about a personal culpability. Wow, so scary of their leaders has so many become that they prefer to transfer membership to another congregation. ‘Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective’ (James 5: 16).  Anyone, but especially leaders who leak a personal issue that someone reveal to him in confidence, an issue that will cause embarrassment if passed on betray the trust of members of their congregations or others who confide in them in. A leader with a leaky lip needs to be disrobed because he has let his parishioners and his church community down.

People do tend to get upset about others who challenge their own personal behaviour, and so many are reluctant to approach them. If you see it or hear it, address it, but if you cannot address it directly, speak with someone who can, and only with a view to heal. Even so whatever way you try, whether they work or not you can pray for their healing, do not do anything that will destroy them. The alternative is not to judge them or leak such information to anyone else because it will never stop until everyone knows, and the church splits. God is not the author of divisions! These types of problems, of the ‘unguarded lips’ kind, exist only because we have biblically ungifted, untrained, unprofessional leaders, managing churches. Many who have never taken a course in leadership or church management, but placed in a role that does not suit them, they do not know how to handle it. Therefore, when are told or hear something indirectly, they quickly pass judgement only because they want to be seen as being with it, that is not setting a good example that is not leadership. Scripture makes it very clear that there is one supreme Judge of all, the Lord God and that He alone has the authority to determine right and wrong motives and behaviours. Many Old Testament passages corroborate to the truth of God as Judge:

‘God is a just judge, and God is angry with the wicked every day’ (Psalm 7:11). ‘He shall judge the world in righteousness, and he shall administer judgments for the people in uprightness’ (Psalm 9:8). ‘Let the heavens declare His righteousness, for God himself is Judge. Selah’ (Psalm 50:6). ‘For the Lord is our Judge, the Lord is our Lawgiver, the Lord is our King; He will save us’ (Isaiah 33:22).

Did Jesus advise his followers not to judge others? What about making general comments about is right or wrong in others? In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus spoke a lot against people passing judgement on others. It is clear from reading the wider context that Jesus was commenting on people who make it a point of practice of making personal judgments against others, when their own lifestyle and behaviour was questionable even extremely compromised than the people they were passing judgement on. However, reading in context, the wider application, the object of Jesus’ comments may not be easily detectable. Jesus was very clear about those in the religious establishment in Israel who came in for fierce criticism. Jesus target the hypocrisy of the Jewish religious institutions of His day, Jesus had the authority to judge them, not man.

The Father has committed authority and judgment to the His Son. Jesus confirmed His authority before He ascended to heaven after His Resurrection (Matt. 28:18). ‘For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son’ (John 5:22). ‘I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in me should not abide in darkness. And if anyone hears My words and does not believe, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him—the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day’ (John 12:46–48). ‘Because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead’ (Acts 17:31). These scriptures among many others clearly prove, very clear that one day Jesus will rightly judge all humanity based on each individual’s faith in, or rejection of the Son of God. For a world filled with people who believe in moral relativism and for many practicing Christians who exercise virtue on the basis they can earn morality will be filled with dread and anxiety on the day of the Lord. Jesus Christ is the righteous Judge of the universe and He has made a judgment about salvation, as Peter declares,  Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved’ (Acts 4: 12).  Humankind will have no time to debate whether the judgment is right or wrong because God the arbiter has decreed His justice through His Son, Christ.

Now reflect on the notion of judging as it relates to believers and nonbelievers. Obviously, the approaches are different when dealing with them, but the goal is appeasement. Nonbelievers need to know Christ and be reconciled to Him, and believers need to mature in Christ and be reconciled to each other. There scriptures show that Jesus was very displeased about the conduct of hypocrites than probably anything else that He faced. Therefore, His warning against judging others was primarily aimed at those who thought they were superior to others. In other words, get your own house in order before you criticize others. We all have sinned and fall short of Gods glory.

Stop beating up on yourself, when you are judged, you are a work in progress, which means that you get there a little at a time not all at the same time or pace, we are not all ‘speedy Gonzales’. The songwriter ask on behalf of all who are being judged, ‘please be patient with me, God is not through with me yet… when God get through with me, I shall come forth as pure gold’. Never throw in the towel, because someone belittle you, put you down, do not ever quit. Winners never quit, and quitters never win, ‘we are more than conquerors in Christ. Countless numbers of Christians wants to quit, feel they have to abandon, their walk with Christ because of a leaky heartless, unforgiving congregation. Many others are under pressure to quit because of a minor infraction and because of someone in the group are looking mockingly in our direction, telling us it is time to. Yep we want to hide when we are judged when seemingly things get tough and because of being aware of our culpabilities but which remain unobserved from the masses only because they are ineffectual.

When we make our mistakes, we feel embarrassed, we let ourselves down, and it is between God and us, no human judge, no one else. No matter how many times we falter and fail, fall flat on our backs, pick up, stand up and start again, we can bounce back from anything Satan throw at us and inspire the many unrighteous judging. It is not what people say about us that should determine who we are; shape our future or what we should become. We should not look back on our past mistakes, but move forward from them with confidence, as God for help in times of faintness. ‘Because the Sovereign Lord helps me, I will not be disgraced. Therefore have I set my face like flint, and I know I will not be put to shame’ (Isa. 50: 7). God’s servant will be honoured in time, but he must endure the cutting, hypocritical judging with self-assured determination to face up to his detractors. So that we increase self-assurance and replace fear of, with victory upon victory, and our strength, well, we will act no less courageously than those judges whose affluences have previously opens corridors of opportunities. For however, strong hypocritical judgers may appear, underlying they display deficiency only by the means to demonstrate the complete magnitude of their injustice ignorance. Remember that even a poisonous serpent is safe to handle in the cold climate, when it is lethargic. However, be aware that its venom is still present, though sedentary. In the same way be on the alert for noxious tongue, though they seem snoozing, sociable and gentle the virulence is still there and has the ability to distribute discomfort.

 

Genuine or fake friends

The term ‘fake’ is in the news a lot these days, a term generally associated with US president Donald Trump. However, have you ever wondered if your friend is real or counterfeit? On the other hand, is it OK if I call you my friend? What qualifies us as friends? Well, let us understand what true friendship is. One definition of friend is, ‘a person who you know well and who you like a lot, but who is usually not a member of your family.’ We often hear people say, ‘S/he’s my best/oldest/closest friend – we’ve known each other since we were very young.’ Or we’ve known each other since kindergarten.’ ‘He’s a family friend/friend of the family.’ ‘This restaurant was recommended to me by a friend.’ ‘We’ve been friends for years.’ Tom and Jerry are (good) friends of ours’ or ‘we are (good) friends with Peter and John.’ ’I’ve made a lot of friends in this job.’ Alternatively, ‘He finds it difficult to make friends.’ When most of the above is the case, we accept as the norm without question. When the latter is the case, we often try to find reasons why someone is friendless. Even try to offer up good reasons why this is so. Nevertheless, the lists of friendship quotes stretches, without labouring, I think the point is obvious. In addition, what it reveals is that we use the ‘friend’ phrase very loosely. Likewise, it is obvious that there are differing levels of ‘good’ as well as ‘false’ friendship so whom do we trust? Let us engage the issue together.

Most of us at one time or another in our life journey, has encountered one or more ‘fake’ friends, but they never outnumber the ‘true’ ones. Those people who falsely claim to be something, feel, or do something they can be called fake. When our friend acts sweet but spreads rumours about us when we are absent, we can say that they are fake. They are the ones we must identify and recuse ourselves. ‘Fake’ when used as a verb, means to take an action with the intent to deceive, to misrepresent the truth, as you know it. Alternatively, these people are only our friends when s/he needs or wants something from us, or when it suits their cause. Whatever it is they want, do not have to be money or material things, maybe some news or juicy gossip about someone, friend or foe. After s/he gets what they want, s/he ignores you until he wants something else. Now hear this, the best of us fall prey to their conceited attitude, until our eyes are open to their folly, or after we are burned whichever comes first. Untie the knot, loose them!

Friendship is something we can never live without; we all need a friend in good times and in bad. Someone who sticks closer than a brother does! What does the Bible say about Friendship? How are we to choose our friends? How should friends treat one another? All of these are good questions and the Bible has some good Scriptures to study to answer them. ‘One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother’ (Prov. 18: 24). Now you understand why some seemingly unshakeable, unbreakable, friendships end in such public shame and disgrace. It is because it takes time, through let downs and heartaches to know who really are our friends. Time proves their value and worth, their longevity is a testimony to their importance. Yes, some friendships have to go through trials, much burning will take place for truth and dependence to be realised. Yes, some friends are only so by name, their actions prove anything but. Those we can do without, free ourselves from, break the shackles they have on us, as their very presence in our lives spells ruin, heartaches and trouble. So why do we keep them, when they only cause us hurt? Of course when our eyes are open and we attempt to separate from them, they become angry with us for wanting to leave, we become the problem, not them. ‘Do not make friends with a hot-tempered person, do not associate with one easily angered… or you may learn their ways and get yourself ensnared.’ (Prov. 22: 24-25). Therefore, we have a just cause to separate ourselves. Fake friendship can be disastrous to our state of mind, our personal wellbeing. Hear this; be careful whom you call your friend.

Friendship is viewed highly valuable in the biblical story of David and Jonathan. We understand from the biblical narrative (1Sam. 18:1), that Jonathan loved David. However, it was not until Second Samuel (1:26) that we fully understand the solemnity of this friendship. Here we read how David has lamented after Jonathan’s death, in which he said that his love for Jonathan was more wonderful than the love of a woman. Some bible watchers erroneously interpreted these passages to advocate a homosexual relationship between David and Jonathan. However, this spurious interpretation should be rejected for at least the following reasons.

Of paramount importance, we are all familiar with the three words in Greek expressing three levels of love, Agape (unconditional love), Phileo (brotherly love, friendship) and Eros (erotic love).  Hebrew actually has four words for love, but they are not always translated as love.  You have Ahav (love), Racham (tender mercies) Dodi (beloved as spousal love), and Ra’ah (brotherly love, or friendship).   It would be wrong to try to make a parallel between the Greek words for love and the Hebrew words, which creates a real problem in translation as love is at the very root and centre of Scripture. I suppose we could say the closest to Ahav is Agape, Ra’ah is like Phileo and Dodi is like Eros.   Yet this would not be accurate as Ahav is used in cases where Agape would not fit, Ra’ah, although rendered as friendship, is also rendered as Shepherd and consuming passion and is often used by David to express his love for God, so it would be very inappropriate to consider Ra’ah equivalent to Phileo in many cases.

Israel’s King Solomon uses Dodi toward his adored to express a sexual desire, but it does not carry the lustful, self-gratification of Eros. Likewise, there is a fourth word in Hebrew for love and that is Racham, which is often expressed as a romantic love or rendered as tender mercies. Though this message is not about homosexuality, we can with confidence say that the word ‘aheb’, (aw-hab’), ‘ahav, for ‘love’ used here is not the typical word used in Hebrew for sensual activity. The closest word in Hebrew for erotic ‘love’ would possibly be ‘Dodi.’ However, ‘aheb’ is used and possibly has some political and diplomatic meanings (1Sam. 16:21; 1Kings 5:1).

Additionally, David’s association of his relationship with Jonathan with that of women was possibly an allusion to his experience with King Saul’s daughter, as he was promise one of Saul’s daughters for killing Goliath. However, Saul continued to add conditions on the marriage with the essential wish to have David killed (1Sam. 18:17, 25). The friendship Jonathan showed to David was superior to anything he could have received from Saul’s daughter. Moreover, the Bible plainly and unfailingly condemns homosexual practices (Gen. 1:26-27; Lev. 18:22; 20:13; Rom. 1:18-25). Commending a homosexual love between David and Jonathan would be controverting the prohibitions found all through the Scriptures.

Therefore, the friendship between David and Jonathan was a pure covenantal relationship. We understand David and Jonathan forming an agreement from reading 1Sam. 18:1-5. In this agreement, Jonathan was to be second in command in David’s future reign, and David was to protect Jonathan’s family (1Sam 20:16-17, 42; 23:16-18).

Obviously, this indicate that the men were very good friends, and in this friendship we observe a few ‘friendship’ qualities, ‘sacrifice, loyalty, defence, and expression of emotions’ qualities that define true friendship. First in (1Sam18:4), we see how Jonathan gave David his clothes and military garb. The significance of this gift was that Jonathan recognised that David would one day be king of Israel. Rather than being envious or jealous, Jonathan submitted to God’s will and sacrificed his own right to the throne. Second, (1Sam 19:1-3, we read of Jonathan’s loyalty toward and defence of David. King Saul told his followers to kill David. Jonathan rebuked his father and recalled David’s faithfulness to him in killing Goliath.

Finally, Jonathan and David were also free to express their emotions with one another. In (1Sam 20), we see a plan invented by Jonathan to reveal his father’s tactics toward David. Jonathan was going to practice his archery. If he told his servant that the arrows he shot were to the side of the target, David was safe. If Jonathan told his servant that the arrows were beyond the target, David was to leave and not return. Jonathan told the servant that the arrows were beyond the target, meaning that David should flee. After releasing his servant, Jonathan found David and the two men cried together. “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity” (Prov. 17:17). This is an age-old unbreakable truth and evidence in the friendship of David and Jonathan, disaster did not separate them.

Rather than being evidence for a homosexual relationship in the Bible, the account of David and Jonathan is an example of true biblical friendship. True friendship, according to the Bible, involves loyalty, sacrifice, compromise, and yes, emotional attachment. That is the message we should learn from the narrative of David and Jonathan. The idea that the only person in the Bible described as ‘a man after God’s own heart’ (Acts 13:22), was a practicing homosexual (or a bisexual man) is someones faulty hermeneutics, and clearly ridiculous. An absurd idea which has no true biblical basis.

As with David and Jonathan friendship, some people came into our lives to add value, but clearly, some are only there to shame and embarrass us, to take, and to destroy our name, image and standing, which are you? Jonathan was there for David, in good times and in bad, when King Saul, Jonathan’s father attempted to kill David Jonathan did not side with his father, but shielded David. If you are never there when your friend need you, a shoulder to cry on, to help find a way, can you really call yourself a friend. If you killed him/her by your spite and lashing tongue, how you call yourself a friend? Jonathan never turns his back on David, what kind of friend turn their backs, ignore the cry for help, leave at the time that you are needed the most? Would David have died if Jonathan weren’t there? Being a friend in need and indeed? If Jonathan were not standing by David, when he was struggling, he would be in serious trouble. Likewise, if you were not standing by us when in our struggle, do not expect us to find you when we succeed. David when he eventually sat on the throne set out to fulfil the promises he made to Jonathan’s household, because of the true bond they share.

What is Jesus view on Friendship? “My command is this: love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you” (John 15:12-15). Not only is love a command, but it is closely linked with friendship. You reveal your all to your friends. So that only someone close to you, a considered friend can truly hurt you! The true friends will not, but will lay down his life for us! Christ is a true friends example of love and faithfulness.

Human destiny, humanity’s future is never tied to those who abandoned and left us at difficult times in our lives. It is not that those who leave are bad people, like John Mark, who abandoned Paul, when things got tough on the missionary road. It means that they have already played their tune, sing their song, and act their part in your story. Remember the saying, “when one door is closed, another is open”, I say many are open!

British author, theologian and poet C. S. Lewis asked this question, ‘Is any pleasure on earth as great as a circle of Christian friends by a good fire?’ Lewis went on to advise that, ‘Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art… It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival.’ So, as someone once ponder about what to do if we find ourselves trapped in a hole in the ground beneath a massive rock that we cannot move, and have no hope of being rescue? His advice is we meditate on and ponder the view of how lucky we are that life-cycle of friends has been good to us up to this point in time now absent, because we hurt them. Otherwise, he said if time has not been good to us thus far, which given our existing situation appears more possible, we should reflect on how blessed we are that the friendship we lack will not be distressing us any longer. ‘Woeful waste makes woeful wants,’ was one of my mom’s favourite quotes. I since have understood that this can apply to any situation in life. If we spend our time acting unfriendly, causing ruin, destroying those souls who acted friendly towards us, when the evil days come, when the massive rock of life circumstances surrounds, pins us down, who will be there for us, who will we call on, or who will be there standing by our side?

True friendship does not need daily conversation, telephone calls, or even weekly home visits. This kind is the David and Jonathan kind, it is from the heart, and though out of site, they are not out of mind. Though near are far, you are assured and reassured of their continuing, stick-to-it-iveness, they never part. Just call, they will tell you, and I will be there, before you can say, ‘Cat on a hot tin roof.’ My Christian friends know this that the durable link of friendship is not always a stable comparison, because true friendship is not always about giving and taking in identical manner. As an alternative, friendship is rooted in a sentiment that you know accurately who will be there for you in times of trouble. “When Job’s three friends, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite, heard about all the troubles that had come upon him, they set out from their homes and met together by agreement to go and sympathise with him and comfort him” (Job 2: 11). The person who never shirks or shies away when you need them or something, no matter what the value or what time of day or night the call comes is what true friendship is all about. Jobs friends demonstrated that.

Hubert H. Humphrey, American politician and former vice president once said, ‘the greatest gift of life is friendship, and I have received it.’ Most of us can identify with this sentiment. At one point or another in our lives, we experience what it is to have friends. The world as it is, is filled many loveless, abandoned and forsaken souls, the suffer fear and dread, they need a friend. You, I, we all can join hands and hearts together, to help fill that void in people’s lives, the kind that governments cannot provide. So make a commitment today, make an effort to share a moment, or a smile, give friendship to somebody in need. Give true friendship, which is that symbol of love, someone will appreciate. Be a friend to Jesus, by being a true friend to a suffering depressed soul! You will find it is worth the effort.

Sharia law – Compatible with Western Christian Values?

David Cameron, former British Prime minister made a very fundamentally flawed step when he allows some functions of sharia law to operate side by side with British law. This has been seen in some quarters as a retrograde and wrong step because it devalues the British system and it now allows a two-tier law system to operate in Britain. There are not many other western countries that allow a two-tier law system to operate within their borders. For this Europe is doomed, Christianity will be loss, western values crumbles! Western societies are shaped, were patterned after Jewish and Christian values. If you travel to Russia, you either abide by their laws or are thrown  in prison or out of the country, the French, the Australians, and many more countries are the same. If you travel to Saudi Arabia and you fail to abide by their Islamic law you are put in prison or thrown out of their country. So why does a western government allow this two-tier system to happen in a western democracy?

There are no democracy in Islamic states, they believe in dictatorships, one strong man at the helm of power. This is what the Turkish president is seemingly heading towards, a one party state and government, that has no opposition to question or challenges it. Why Cameron did this only he and his conservative government knows except to muddy the waters, or being seen as tolerating Muslim values, pushing the Islamic agenda. What was in it for him? The current mayor does repeatedly and consistently proclaims that Islam can co-exist with western or British values? Well thinking people knows this is not possible and could never be. Is the teaching of sharia law consistent with the Ten Commandments law that shape western values? Western laws have their roots in Christian values, and it is impossible for any keen sighted person to accept otherwise, and that is that sharia law violates Christian values, and by extension western principles.

It was not until the 6th century A.D., some 600 years after Christianity, when Islam was created. When he started to preach no one accepted his message, in fact he was ridiculed and driven out of the city. He went to another city and happen to raise a following. Some time later a group of men overthrow the government, by this time he was ready to return. There is a strong school of though that he orchestrated the overthrow of the government  from the second city where he fled to. He returned and immediately established his caliphate government. However, when he arrived with his new message he claimed was from God, it was the new kid on the block; it appears as if out of time, much later than Judaism and Christianity. It was not established to confirm the Biblical literature, but rather cynically to dishonour its key message, that Christ is the Messiah, that He is the Son of God, and the final and last prophet from God to man. To validate its message, he has to do a few things, deny Christ Messiah-ship.

And even when he accept Christ as a prophet, he denies His divinity, and further down the line many Imams claim that Christ was not crucified, and they can prove it.  The four Gospel writers declare that Christ was crucified; the book of Acts gave evidence of multiple people who not just saw Him when He died, but saw Him when He was resurrected. Why the Imams of Islam want to deny that though they were not alive then, is a puzzle? The only answer is that if they accept that that Christ was killed, buried and rose from the dead, their message has no relevancy.

Therefore, Mohammad did not come with a message that would exist in harmony with the Holy Scriptures. Despite the plain difference in ideologies or interests with the Bible, the Koran does not indicate a message of harmony with ‘the people of the book,’ the Jewish people and Christians, rather his clear intent was to replace them. That is the age-old message you will hear from the Imams. They will never stop until Islam replaces Christianity in the west. Not until the Islamic flag is flying from the roof of the white house and Buckingham palace. They are buying up choice properties in western capitals. In 2016 alone over 2000 Mosque were built or opened in America alone. The number in other western countries and the cities of Europe dwarf that figure. The interfaith movement was meant to be a body that promotes dialogue, but is being used to foster Islamic growth and to build more Mosques in the Hub of European capitals. If there was an effort to co-exist with Christianity, why are there millions being injected in the west to foster Islamic programmes, colleges, centres? They are being given special places in many schools to pray.

To achieve their goals, millions of dollars of Saudi Arabian money have trained agents in Saudi Arabia and Turkey to infiltrate vital agencies of the west. They are place at strategic point in universities, public and private institutions, agencies of government, public administrations to accomplish their goals. They must make Islamic values look good to westerners, a religion they can relate to, and become a member of. Their motto is ‘Islam is a peaceful religion,’ but the proof of the pudding is in the eating. If was peaceful why is there a war ranging between the factions of Islam, between Shea and Sunni? The west can never understand that Islam is at war with itself. That Sunnis and Shea can never see eye to eye in the interpretation of the prophets teachings. Mohammad had ordered his army to attack Syria, but died before it happened. However, shortly after the death of Mohammed, Abu Baker sent the army to conquer Syria. There were many pretenders to the throne of Mohammad, but Abu Bakr succeeded him. He raged war against other pretenders and by so doing extended the territories of Islam under the flashing sword. People in those territories invaded were given a change to convert to Islam or face the sword. Many millions converted to Islam under the threat of death.

When Islam came along, Christianity has blazed a trail of success in all the regions of the Middle East. Thanks to the successful preaching’s of Paul and many other New Testament prophets the God News of Christ, the Gospel message has reached millions, people were converting, the church was growing, ancient false gods were being toppled over. People were being saved into the kingdom of God, not through the edge of the sword but by the convincing power of the message that Jesus died to save the lost. The enemies of God must find a way to stop this spread, their religion of multiple gods, was being weakened by the day. Christianity became a threat to them. Their alternative answer to this threat was to claim, there was one God also, and Mohammad was his prophet. The claim now of a single ‘monotheistic’ God they assume would stop the march of Christianity in those regions. Only, this new proclaimed god was not the God of Israel, because the Gospel message already proclaim Jesus as the Messiah, and ‘Emmanuel, ‘God with us,’ the Christ of God.

Therefore, to authenticate, they claim, a new message was given, the Koran contains this new message, and Mohammad is his messenger. However, there are no independent authentications of this new message delivered by the angel Gabriel to the new messenger. If there was authentication which there is not, then all the Old and New Testament prophets made a mistake in their prophesies concerning Christ. If there was a new message delivered in a cave to a new messenger, then God was dismissing the teachings of Christ His own Son, who Himself declared in the ears of many, ‘this is my beloved Son, in whom I AM well pleased.’ If God now rejects His Son, should there not be more than one message or messenger to confirm this rejection? For something so vital, for the sake and redeeming feature of the whole human race, would God appears to one man and give no clue, that He no longer love His Son or the message He gave? God sent His son to die to seal the faith of humanity that through Christ humankind would have hope. Would God then 600 years later dismiss the sacrifice of His son to accept another?

The fact is, this is whole thing incredulous, and the mere suggestion that God would do such a thing is making God a liar. However, Satan is the liar; he is the father of lies, a liar from the beginning, look what he told Adam and Eve. He saw the growth of the Gospel message, and to thwart the message of Salvation in Christ, to mix up people’s minds, as to Gods motive in sending Christ, He sent his counterfeit messenger. Only this messenger appears as an angel of light, but is not from God, a phoney that would make it hard for many to deny Him, unless God reveal truth to man. He deceived and continues to deceive many who will not look to the true God for help. This new message was not to coexist with Jews, the ‘people of the book’ and the Gospel of Christ. If it was why the centuries of almost relentless hostilities, and attempts to replace the Jews and Christianity?

Many scholars who have read the Islamic law books and analyse sharia has concluded that Islamic values are essentially ‘a rebellion against the Ten Commandments’ issued to the people of Israel on Mt Sinai. These biblical scholars believes that Islam infringes the commandment, ‘Thou shalt not kill’ as when Allah commanded Muslims to kill Allah’s enemies, and in the process, they kill and be killed in jihad if they are to be guaranteed heaven. Being compliant, a parallel legal system would effectively nullify actual freedom for many of the people possibly forced to use it, and the ability to receive equal justice under law. Sharia is the reason there is a death warrant was issued on Salman Rushdie for writing the ‘Satanic Verses’ that analyse the tenets of the Islamic message and its messenger by the Ayatollah Khomeini of Iran for apostasy. Many other authors, commentators, journalists have died violent deaths at the hands of Islamist who believed that though there is freedom of speech, you do not have the right to question the prophet, or paint a cartoon of him. What does it matter if someone depict you in a cartoon? Does it hurt you, does it devalue you or your message? Are we not allowed to laugh at ourselves ones in a while? And the truth should be able to stand up to any and every criticism! Scepticism does not devalue truth, it generates exposure and gives it light and wings to fly on. That should be lauded, no?

What the Islamist are then telling you and the rest of the world to do is accept the message and the messenger who brought it blindly without any question of legitimacy. The thing is they have the right to question you and your faith, they called Christ illegitimate, a bastard child because Mary and Joseph were not married when Mary became pregnant with Christ. However, it stands to reason and it became a standard that every man has the right to question his belief system in western culture. This right is being taken away, because many are offended if you want to ask valid questions. How then can sharia law be consistent, or live in harmony with Christian and western values and culture?

What is My Identity?

We often find ourselves asking, who am I, what am I supposed to be? What am I here for and what are my goals in life? We asked these questions of ourselves especially when things are not working out for us, we suffer many setbacks. Likewise, often we are told to discover ourselves, find out whom we are, then find and take our place, in the world. That way we find our truthful selves. However, they never told us truly, how to get there, and how to find our way? They never told you about the many bends and humps, and hills you must climb. Few tell you how difficult are the race of life and the many disappointments along the way. Of course, there are many pointers, many roads leading in all direction, and many suggestions.

They told you about the anchor of religion, but so many in the market place advertising their brand, you never know which one to choose, or which is the right one? To muddy the water even more they try to tell you anyone is OK, they all leads to God. Just chose a brand they all are calling on the same God. However, are they right? Does all religion leads to the true God, and if there are false teachers and preachers how do we identify them? They deny that Jesus Christ is God the Son come in the flesh (1 John 4:2-3). They deny Jesus Christ is the Sovereign Lord (2 Peter 2:1). They will say that Jesus has already returned (2 Timothy 2:18, Matthew 24:23-27). They pretend to be Christ’s servants but they actually preach a different Gospel (2 Corinthians 11:4 and 12-15, Galatians 1:6-7).They are in disguise, and taking off the arsenic label of a bottle, replacing it with honey don’t make the content any less deadly.

Humanity can identify the right type of strategy to solve the purpose of his existence, by identifying the true religion. To solve the purpose of existence he must settle comfortable with whom the true God is. Alternatively, he must solve the problem of his identity by asking two delicate yet apparent questions: How well can we define the problem of man? How well can we define the ability sphere obligatory to disentangle its complexity? Once we disentangle the complexity of Man and our understandings of God we will determined our identity, and find our purpose in the world.

So that after resolving the problem of our identity, we must answer, is who we are a choice? Alternatively, can we change who we are? Do identifying who we are and our purpose on earth determine our life choices? When we choose to belong to the human experience, we agree to unite and engage with the known world. However, the legend of the jagged nonconformist disregards the fact that humans are communal by natures, we need each other. That we desire inordinately for love, companionship and community. We are stronger together; we have a need to belong – a desire to succeed in the race of life. In addition, community have a need for all to be good to each other.

When we were born we became part of a family, develop relationship, in schools, in church, we become members of groups. We become part of the wider community without choosing and without being offered a choice or agreeing we become part of the human family. We also volunteer to do things the way society do them; we contribute to its stability.  We agree to play by societies rules, or otherwise we are punished. This in philosophy is known as voluntary conformism.

Some folks often query whether these kinds of societal conformity offer us ‘freedom,’ of choice. However, because it offers the freedom to choose what assembly to belong to and, though illogically, the freedom to do what others expects us to do, we can affirm, positively it is freedom. Therefore, though humans have the freedom of choice, the right to act, to speak and to think, we must ask, what is the limit to freedom? Can we then dare to assert that with freedom comes responsibility? I am free to speak, but I must know when to speak. I am free to shout, but shouting in a place where quiet and silence is beneficial, even healing will cause disgust. I am free to walk but there are laws against trespassing on others property. So freedom have limits, no?

Adam and Eve, had freedom to their hearts content. God made them free moral agents with the power of choice. “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them” (Gen. 1: 27). They were given all things God created in the garden, they were in control, and they identify with God as long as they made the right choices. They lost that identity, and ever since humankind is trying to find himself. Though they we are advised that a particular choice would cause their death, they ignore that advice, follow a lie, and humanity has suffered ever since. Our best choices prove inadequate, causes self-hate and personal regrets and disgust unless it centres on God. “Unless a man is wise his own circumstances will not please him; every kind of folly is plagued with self-disgust” (Seneca, Letters 9.22).

However, it will be well with us if we heed the advice Joshua gave to the people of ancient Israel: ‘But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD” (Joshua 24: 15NIV). Joshua puts the clear choice before the people in concise form, but not as if he was unconcerned, whether they served God or not. Choose you whom ye will serve, now the matter is place plainly before you. He resolves to serve God, whatever the people of Israel did. It is essential that the service of God’s people be performed with this kind of willing and resolute mind. They identify with and chose to serve the God of their fathers. After the service of God is made the peoples clear and deliberate choice, Joshua binds them to it by a solemn covenant.

Our most important life choices are not just about finding ourselves, or discerning how we fit into the big picture of the human experience. “Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it” (1Cor. 12: 27NIV). I conclude it is not about personal identity, independent of God, but rather in Him. Our experiences, has everything to do about discovering who we are in God and what He created us to be in the world! Our human identity can only find fulfilment and contentment in Christ Jesus. Without Christ we are nothing, and can do nothing, out life choice is complete in Him alone. God created the human family to have distinctive characteristics and purpose in the world. “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light” (1Pet. 2: 9NIV). However, God designed us also to have a commonality of contentment with our lives through His will. We discover our identity when we know and choose Christ, and the more closely we are drawn to Him. All other names and prophets are a nonstarter.

Muslim Imam denies the Holocaust.

Holocaust denial is never new and continues unabated among Muslims, despite in existence of clear evidence, documented proof in videos and still photographs, thousands of living eye witnesses and personal stories. The Holocaust among Muslims is a concocted tale of Zionism and supported by Western and European white lies.

Why would Muslims want to deny one of the most horrible historical blots on the human experience and psyche? Could it not be that the Muslims themselves have an agenda, which is not so subtle? Could it be that by denying anything to do with the Jewish people, who God has chosen to establish His name among the entire race of humanity, is to deny their credibility? Could it be then, that by of denying Judaism, which gave birth to Christianity, is affirming Islam’s credibility? If the Jewish history and experience were wiped out, there would be no doubt, questioning, or denial of the Islamic prophet and his message in the Koran? Historians and biblical theologians agree Jesus Christ, the Jewish Messiah, as recorded in the Holy Scriptures by holy men as they were moved and influenced by God, was/is the true prophet and son of God, the saviour of humanity and the final messenger to humankind! Many researchers have found little evidence of Mohammad claims of divine inspiration, of being the final prophet or his claim, that his message replaced the Jewish prophets and Jesus himself! Therefore, what is the inheritance of the Jewish people, for Christianity, and all of humanity if in fact the Koran later replaced the biblical literature Christians believe was divinely inspired?

I digressed, but deliberately to prove a very pivotal point, which is denying something that is so evidence is like putting petrol on your house, torched it, watched it burns, someone point it out, took pictures, videotape it, but you will not accept that your house is on fire. Christ said to Paul, ‘it’s hard to kick against the pricks’ and Muslims agenda is really believing that if you deny something never happen will make it disappear from memory! One very prominent Holocaust denier is Australia’s former Grand Mufti, Sheikh Taj Din al-Hilali who was named ‘Muslim Man of the Year’ in 2005 and Australia most senior and longest-serving Muslim cleric (1988-2007).

Hilali in 1988, when imam of the largest mosque in Australia gave a speech at Sydney University described Jews as the cause of all wars and the existential enemy of humanity.

In July 2006, Hilali refers to the Holocaust as a ‘Zionist lie’ and referred to Israel as a ‘cancer.’ This kind of dangerous rhetoric is not new among Muslims or unique to Australia.

In October 2006 insinuating that the long prison sentences handed to Sydney’s Lebanese gang-rapists for attacking young teenage girls in the year 2000, were unfair he compared Australian women who do not wear the Islamic veil to meat left uncovered in the streets and then eaten by cats. During his long career, Hilali also praised suicide bombers as heroes and called the September 11, 2001 terror attacks in the United States “God′s work against oppressors” and “the work of 100 per cent American gangs.’

At the time, Hilali’s principal adviser and spokesperson, Keysar Trad, wrote, ‘The criminal dregs of white society colonised this country and… the descendants of these criminal dregs tell us that they are better than us.’ Trad subsequently served as president of the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils the national umbrella organization, which represents Australian Muslims at national and international level from July 2016 until May 2017. 

The Auschwitz Institute, the Holocaust memorials are among the thousands of places where evidence exist if Mr Hilali and his lot are interested in some history lessons, but I suspect they are not! However, I will offer some anyways, because as George Santayana remarked, ‘Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.’ Though the quote is most likely due to, and in its original form read, ‘Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.’ As Mr Hilali and his cohorts will find, between 1933 and 1945, Nazi Germany and its allies established more than 40,000 camps and other incarceration sites. The perpetrators used these sites for a range of purposes, including forced labour, detention of people thought to be enemies of the state, and mass murder. The total number of sites is based upon on-going research in the perpetrators’ own records.

Concentration Camps

From its rise to power in 1933, the Nazi regime built a series of detention facilities to imprison and eliminate so-called ‘enemies of the state.’ Most prisoners in the early concentration camps were German Communists, Socialists, Social Democrats, Roma (Gypsies), Jehovah’s Witnesses, homosexuals, and persons accused of ‘asocial’ or socially deviant behaviour. These facilities were called ‘concentration camps’ because those imprisoned there were physically ‘concentrated’ in one location.

After Germany’s annexation of Austria in March 1938, the Nazis arrested German and Austrian Jews and imprisoned them in the Dachau, Buchenwald, and Sachsenhausen concentration camps, all located in Germany. After the violent Kristallnacht (‘Night of Broken Glass’) pogroms in November 1938, the Nazis conducted mass arrests of adult male Jews and incarcerated them in camps for brief periods.

Forced-Labour Prisoner-of-War Camps

Subsequent to the German invasion of Poland in September 1939, the Nazis opened forced-labour camps where thousands of prisoners died from exhaustion, starvation, and exposure. SS units guarded the camps. During World War II, the Nazi camp system expanded rapidly. In some camps, Nazi doctors performed medical experiments on prisoners.

Succeeding the June 1941 German invasion of the Soviet Union, the Nazis increased the number of prisoner-of-war (POW) camps. Some new camps were built at existing concentration camp complexes (such as Auschwitz) in occupied Poland. The camp at Lublin, later known as Majdanek, was established in the autumn of 1941 as a POW camp and became a concentration camp in 1943. Thousands of Soviet POWs were shot or gassed there.

Jewish Genocide Centres

In order to expedite the ‘Final Solution’ (the genocide or mass destruction of the Jews), the Nazis established killing centres in Poland, the country with the largest Jewish population. The killing centres were designed for efficient mass murder. Chelmno, the first massacre centre, opened in December 1941. Jewish and Roma people were gassed in mobile gas vans there. In 1942, the Nazis opened the Belzec, Sobibor, and Treblinka killing centres to systematically kill the Jews of the General government (the territory in the interior of occupied Poland).

The Nazis constructed further gas chambers (rooms that filled with poison gas to kill those inside) to increase killing efficiency and to make the process more impersonal for the perpetrators. At the Auschwitz camp complex, the Birkenau killing centre had four gas chambers. During the height of deportations to the camp, up to 6,000 Jews were gassed there each day.

Jews in Nazi-occupied lands often were first deported to transit camps such as Westerbork in the Netherlands, or Drancy in France, en route to the killing centres in occupied Poland. The transit camps were usually the last stop before deportation to a killing centre.

Additionally millions of people were imprisoned and abused including starvation in Nazi occupied territories and the various types of concentration camps. Under SS management, the German secret police, the Germans and their agents murdered more than three million Jews in the killing centres alone. Only a small fraction of those imprisoned in Nazi camps survived.

Does one need spiritual visions and inspiration to see this flagrant denial and contempt for the truth of history? Is this then not a clear Satanic inspired attempt to deny the truth, which can be found in Christ Jesus alone? ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me’ (John 14: 6). Satan’s attempt to deny Christ, and the Scriptures that testify of His divinity, and his objective, is to establish, that the bible lies and the Koran is truth! To deny the Jews and their suffering is denying history. As Samuel Taylor Coleridge once remarked, ‘If men could learn from history, what lessons it might teach us! But passion and party blind our eyes, and the light which experience gives us is a lantern on the stern which shines only on the waves behind.’ Establishing there is another way, gives credibility to Mohammad’s teachings, which has no credible history! As to accept Islam is to deny Christ! In fact, many others have now accepted that all religions are equally true, there is one god, so that there are many ways to him! When the water is so muddy, people will not see a difference. My friends, removing the label of an ‘arsenic poison’ bottle and re-label it, as ‘fruit juice’ will not neutralise its deadly content!

With such credible documented evidence of history, how does Muslims and imams like Hilali are allowed to get away with such blatant Holocaust denial?

Muslim Imam denies the Holocaust.

Holocaust denial is never new and continues unabated among Muslims, despite in existence of clear evidence, documented proof in videos and still photographs, thousands of living eye witnesses and personal stories. The Holocaust among Muslims is a concocted tale of Zionism and supported by Western and European white lies.

Why would Muslims want to deny one of the most horrible historical blots on the human experience and psyche? Could it not be that the Muslims themselves have an agenda, which is not so subtle? Could it be that by denying anything to do with the Jewish people, who God has chosen to establish His name among the entire race of humanity, is to deny their credibility? Could it be then, that by of denying Judaism, which gave birth to Christianity, is affirming Islams credibility? If the Jewish history and experience were wiped out, there would be no doubt, questioning, or denial of the Islamic prophet and his message in the Koran? Historians and biblical theologians agree Jesus Christ, the Jewish Messiah, as recorded in the Holy Scriptures by holy men as they were moved and influenced by God, was/is the true prophet and son of God, the saviour of humanity and the final messenger to humankind! Many researchers have found little evidence of Mohammad claims of divine inspiration, of being the final prophet or his claim, that his message replaced the Jewish prophets and Jesus himself! Therefore, what is the inheritance of the Jewish people, for Christianity, and all of humanity if in fact the Koran later replaced the biblical literature Christians believe was divinely inspired?

I digressed, but deliberately to prove a very pivotal point, which is denying something that is so evidence is like putting petrol on your house, torched it, watched it burns, someone point it out, took pictures, videotape it, but you will not accept that your house is on fire. Christ said to Paul, ‘it’s hard to kick against the pricks’ and Muslims agenda is really believing that if you deny something never happen will make it disappear from memory! One very prominent Holocaust denier is Australia’s former Grand Mufti, Sheikh Taj Din al-Hilali who was named ‘Muslim Man of the Year’ in 2005 and Australia most senior and longest-serving Muslim cleric (1988-2007).

Hilali in 1988, when imam of the largest mosque in Australia gave a speech at Sydney University described Jews as the cause of all wars and the existential enemy of humanity.

In July 2006, Hilali refers to the Holocaust as a ‘Zionist lie’ and referred to Israel as a ‘cancer.’ This kind of dangerous rhetoric is not new among Muslims or unique to Australia.

In October 2006 insinuating that the long prison sentences handed to Sydney’s Lebanese gang-rapists for attacking young teenage girls in the year 2000, were unfair he compared Australian women who do not wear the Islamic veil to meat left uncovered in the streets and then eaten by cats. During his long career, Hilali also praised suicide bombers as heroes and called the September 11, 2001 terror attacks in the United States “God′s work against oppressors” and “the work of 100 per cent American gangs.’

At the time, Hilali’s principal adviser and spokesperson, Keysar Trad, wrote, ‘The criminal dregs of white society colonised this country and… the descendants of these criminal dregs tell us that they are better than us.’ Trad subsequently served as president of the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils the national umbrella organization, which represents Australian Muslims at national and international level from July 2016 until May 2017.

The Auschwitz Institute, the Holocaust memorials are among the thousands of places where evidence exist if Mr Hilali and his lot are interested in some history lessons, but I suspect they are not! However, I will offer some anyways, because as George Santayana remarked, ‘Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.’ Though the quote is most likely due to, and in its original form read, ‘Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.’ As Mr Hilali and his cohorts will find, between 1933 and 1945, Nazi Germany and its allies established more than 40,000 camps and other incarceration sites. The perpetrators used these sites for a range of purposes, including forced labour, detention of people thought to be enemies of the state, and mass murder. The total number of sites is based upon on-going research in the perpetrators’ own records.

Concentration Camps

From its rise to power in 1933, the Nazi regime built a series of detention facilities to imprison and eliminate so-called ‘enemies of the state.’ Most prisoners in the early concentration camps were German Communists, Socialists, Social Democrats, Roma (Gypsies), Jehovah’s Witnesses, homosexuals, and persons accused of ‘asocial’ or socially deviant behaviour. These facilities were called ‘concentration camps’ because those imprisoned there were physically ‘concentrated’ in one location.

After Germany’s annexation of Austria in March 1938, the Nazis arrested German and Austrian Jews and imprisoned them in the Dachau, Buchenwald, and Sachsenhausen concentration camps, all located in Germany. After the violent Kristallnacht (‘Night of Broken Glass’) pogroms in November 1938, the Nazis conducted mass arrests of adult male Jews and incarcerated them in camps for brief periods.

Forced-Labour Prisoner-of-War Camps

Subsequent to the German invasion of Poland in September 1939, the Nazis opened forced-labour camps where thousands of prisoners died from exhaustion, starvation, and exposure. SS units guarded the camps. During World War II, the Nazi camp system expanded rapidly. In some camps, Nazi doctors performed medical experiments on prisoners.

Succeeding the June 1941 German invasion of the Soviet Union, the Nazis increased the number of prisoner-of-war (POW) camps. Some new camps were built at existing concentration camp complexes (such as Auschwitz) in occupied Poland. The camp at Lublin, later known as Majdanek, was established in the autumn of 1941 as a POW camp and became a concentration camp in 1943. Thousands of Soviet POWs were shot or gassed there.

Nazis Genocide Centres

In order to expedite the ‘Final Solution’ (the genocide or mass destruction of the Jews), the Nazis established killing centres in Poland, the country with the largest Jewish population. The killing centres were designed for efficient mass murder. Chelmno, the first massacre centre, opened in December 1941. Jewish and Roma people were gassed in mobile gas vans there. In 1942, the Nazis opened the Belzec, Sobibor, and Treblinka killing centres to systematically kill the Jews of the General government (the territory in the interior of occupied Poland).

The Nazis constructed further gas chambers (rooms that filled with poison gas to kill those inside) to increase killing efficiency and to make the process more impersonal for the perpetrators. At the Auschwitz camp complex, the Birkenau killing centre had four gas chambers. During the height of deportations to the camp, up to 6,000 Jews were gassed there each day.

Jews in Nazi-occupied lands often were first deported to transit camps such as Westerbork in the Netherlands, or Drancy in France, en route to the killing centres in occupied Poland. The transit camps were usually the last stop before deportation to a killing centre.

Additionally millions of people were imprisoned and abused including starvation in Nazi occupied territories and the various types of concentration camps. Under SS management, the German secret police, the Germans and their agents murdered more than three million Jews in the killing centres alone. Only a small fraction of those imprisoned in Nazi camps survived.

Does one need spiritual visions and inspiration to see this flagrant denial and contempt for the truth of history? Is this then not a clear Satanic inspired attempt to deny the truth, which can be found in Christ Jesus alone? ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me’ (John 14: 6). Satan’s attempt to deny Christ, and the Scriptures that testify of His divinity, and his objective, is to establish, that the bible lies and the Koran is truth! To deny the Jews and their suffering is denying history. As Samuel Taylor Coleridge once remarked, ‘If men could learn from history, what lessons it might teach us! But passion and party blind our eyes, and the light which experience gives us is a lantern on the stern which shines only on the waves behind.’ Establishing there is another way, gives credibility to Mohammad’s teachings, which has no credible history! As to accept Islam is to deny Christ! In fact, many others have now accepted that all religions are equally true, there is one god, so that there are many ways to him! When the water is so muddy, people will not see a difference. My friends, removing the label of an ‘arsenic poison’ bottle and re-label it, as ‘fruit juice’ will not neutralise its deadly content!

With such credible documented evidence of history, how does Muslims and imams like Hilali are allowed to get away with such blatant Holocaust denial?

The ‘Goodness’ Virtue

The ‘good’ or ‘goodness’ virtue is understood to be the quality that directs us as humans to take another step, to go a little bit further above and beyond the call of duty. That looks beyond the typical insignificance and take a deeper more meaningful and substantive look at others with a deeper and resounding level of love and care. This goodness quality guides our desire to offer special attention to others’ well being, happiness and personal development when we make our resolutions.

It is of boundless worth, even the excellent way to comfort the wicked, the corrupt and the vile because of the good, the noble intent of the heart though prevalent, remain mostly concealed in the world. Rather than fail the virtuous because of the prevalence of evil, the dominance of the ruthless and the popularity of the decadent in our sphere.

Desiderata

Go placidly amidst the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons.

Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others,you may become vain or bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;

many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection.

Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.

But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars;

you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labours and aspirations,

in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.

Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

‘Desiderata’ (Latin: “desired things”) is a 1927 prose poem by American writer Max Ehrmann

Demand of Human Psyche

We make a daily effort to choose friends consciously and unconsciously because the human psyche needs that kind of grouping sensitivity to exist. We are not an island that stands alone in the middle of the sea without any other support. However must be expressly vigilant in selecting and deciding if they are worthy of our investment of time and energy. Even the offering of aspect of our lives and whether the giving of our space in time add meaning or make any difference to their welfare. Some people are givers for our services to them even before we make an investment in them.

Athenodorus of Soli a Stoic philosopher and disciple of Zeno of Citium, claim that he ‘would not even go to dinner with a man who did not thereby feel indebted to him.’ I suppose you realise how much less inclined he was to visit those who repay their friends’ services with a meal, and count the courses as largesses, as if they were overdoing the honour paid to another. Take away their witnesses and spectators and there is no fun in private gormandising.  You must consider whether your nature is more suited to practical activity or to quiet study and reflection, and incline in the direction your natural faculty and disposition take you. Isocrates forcibly pulled Ephorus away from the forum, thinking he would be better employed in writing history.

Inborn dispositions do not respond well to compulsion, and we labour in vain against nature’s opposition.  However, nothing delights the mind so much as fond and loyal friendship. What a blessing it is to have hearts that are ready and willing to receive all your secrets in safety, with whom you are less afraid to share knowledge of something than keep it to yourself, whose conversation soothes your distress, whose advice helps you make up your mind, whose cheerfulness dissolves your sorrow, whose very appearance cheers you up! To be sure, we shall choose those who are as far as possible free from strong desires; for vices spread insidiously, and those nearest to hand are assailed and damaged by contact with them.

It follows that, just as at a time of an epidemic disease we must take care not to sit beside people whose bodies are infected with feverish disease because we shall risk ourselves and suffer from their breathing upon us, so in choosing our friends for their characters we shall take care to find those who are the least corrupted: mixing the sound with the sick is how disease starts. But I am not enjoining upon you to follow and associate with none but a wise man. For where will you find him whom we have been seeking for ages? In place of the ideal we must put up with the least bad. You would scarcely have the opportunity of a happier choice if you were hunting for good men among the Platos and Xenophons and all that offspring of the Socratic breed; or if you had access to the age of Cato, which produced many men worthy to be born in Cato’s time. (It also produced many who were worse than at any other time and who committed appalling crimes: for both groups were necessary for Cato to be appreciated – he needed the good to win their approval and the bad to prove his strength.) But in the current dearth of good men you must be less particular in your choice. Still, you must especially avoid those who are gloomy and always lamenting, and who grasp at every pretext for complaint. Though a man’s loyalty and kindness may not be in doubt, a companion who is agitated and groaning about everything is an enemy to peace of mind”

 

– Seneca, On Tranquility, Book VII

 

 

#stoicism  #friendship