Tuesday August 1, 2017 

Faith

Reaching a Peaceful Existence

All westerners presumed to be Christian by Muslims

Myrtle Macdonald, M. Sc., Author/YouTube, Pinterst and Wikipedia photos

 

t was wrong in Christendom to use only Latin in worship for nearly two thousand years. Ordinary people were not allowed to have a Bible. A few monks copied bits of scripture adding beautiful calligraphy, but most Christians did not know what Jesus taught. Pope Urban II in 1095 called the European nobility to liberate the Holy Land from Islam, promising them remission of sins to earn a place in heaven.

 

The knights wore a cross on their uniform. In the Crusades 1095-1272, both sides committed terrible atrocities and massacres. Europeans have been hated ever since. Islam spread through armed conquest across eastern Europe, Africa and Asia.


In the 15th century, newly invented printing presses made the Bible available in English, Czech, German, French and other languages. Millions of people were becoming protestants and
literate, so the Catholic Church in the Counter-Reformations began to educate their clergy and to have Biblical street dramas. However they preferred tradition above the Bible.

Wars come from knowing neither the written Word nor the living Word Jesus. Sadly when we try to solve confusion and disagreements in our own strength and limited wisdom, strife increases. We are never aggressively to demand our rights and retaliate. We are to love our enemies.


Great new harmony has come among Christians because of changes begun by Pope John Paul in 1963.  He promoted reading of the Bible in mother tongues by everyone privately and in church services.

 

For the first time, people began to understand and receive a new nature of love. Now protestants and Catholics are more alike and loving.  I am old enough to remember the remarkable changes in character and neighborliness. I grew up in a community where there were many European newcomers of different denominations of Catholics, Orthodox and protestants.

War in Iraq has resulted in Muslims seeking refuge around the world, and building many mosques. Muslims have the Koran that contains faulty Bible stories.  Abraham's son Ishmael, whose mother was an Egyptian servant of his wife Sarah, is their anointed prophet, rather than Isaac, Sarah's son. Many Muslims like Moses and David are prophets.  A lot of folklore is added plus traditions and Shariah law. Jesus is only a prophet and of less importance than Mohammed.


The Koran is approved only in Arabic. I do have unapproved copies in English. Most schools are for boys only and are in Arabic medium with much memorizing of the Koran. They don't learn enough Arabic to understand what they have memorized by rote.


The two major sects Sunni and Shiah (Shiite), divided early in their history because of choice of others to be Caliph (religious king) instead of descendants of Mohammed, and their beliefs are very different. Different ethnic groups of Sunni and Shiah are fighting each other in Syria and Iraq, etc and there are many other Muslim sects that do not trust each other.


The Ishmaelis led by the Aga Khan, focus on providing excellent hospitals with modern scientific professional education.

 


Watch an interview with Pete Mansbridge Youtube.

 

Most Muslims who live in western counties are more enlightened and are becoming democratic. They look at jihad (holy war) as spiritual. The terrorists use Jihad to force loyalty. They murder those who do not join in with them. Some are not spiritual.

 

Extremists are enticing vulnerable youth in subtle ways through the internet to do unexpected violent acts in Europe, England, America and the far east. Others had gone to fight in Iraq and Syria. They are demanding and being granted a measure of Sharia law in Europe. The wording of Sharia varies from one community to another. Some educated women are against it. Others lack courage to seek justice for themselves.

The government in Muslim countries is usually not democractic but theocractic, and controlled by religious leaders. There is little or no freedom of speech, media, conscience or choice.  To convert to another religion is considered disloyalty worthy of prison, torture and death. In many countries of Africa; the middle east and Asia, whether Muslims are in the minority or majority, churches are burned down, land confiscated and Christians persecuted, especially those converted from Islam. 


Under Sharia law women have few rights. They wear a full burka to be protected from men. I noticed in Pakistan than when they were shopping in market they uncovered their faces, but when a male family member or neighbor appeared they quickly covered their faces. The hijab has a similar purpose but is less restrictive.
Muslims are very much against sexual freedom in dress or behavior. Dating is not allowed. They are very strict requiring total loyalty to their faith and culture. They look upon the freedom of western women to mingle and associate with men as immoral.


Muslims tend to call all Europeans and Americans Christian, even though only a small percentage are practicing Christians.


In Canada today only a small percentage of the population have read and know clearly what Jesus taught, and have not accepted His Spirit into their lives. It makes me very sad that my daughter and son did not bring their children up in the church. They believe in high values which are almost Christian and some claim to be spiritual.  


In the USA it is worse.  There are fundamentalists especially in the south, and little effort to cooperate. The two major political parties have stopped trying to find common ground to agree on. They  are not able to work in harmony.  I pray daily for the Congress and Senate to teach Donald Trump to become less rash and contradictory. I think I see answers to those prayers.  He is getting a bit more careful in what he blurts out.

In Lahore Pakistan I worked for two years in Community Health, living in the United Christian Hospital compound, and worshiping in the International Church and several Churches of Pakistan.  Several of my friends were American Presbyterians, some from the southern states and others from the north, and rather different in speech and behavior. There were American embassy families, Khurd refugees, a young woman from Sudan studying for an MBA, and other diverse people.  The director of the hospital was a retired military officer who was domineering. Although nominally Christian, he belittled women.

1946-51 and 1958-63 I worked among tribal people and traders in the Eastern Ghat mountains, 500 miles south of Calcutta.  The traders had become Christians in a mass movement 1904 onwards. Thanks to William Carey they had the whole Bible in their own language Oriya, and many learned it well. They were well taught but many also were nominal believers.  I can tell you a lot about them and their failings (and our present day Canadian failings). 

 

Now there are hundreds of Oriya Christians scattered all over India who are evangelists and teachers. Some have studied under fundamentalist southern American colleges active in India.  But all of us fall short, so I should be careful not to be a judge or Pharisee, and remember to pray for them. On Facebook lots of young Oriya Christians write to me asking for prayer.

During our long years in India the New Testament was translated into the Tribal language Soura and hymns composed in their own tunes. I was present when their first little thatched, half-wall church was inaugurated in 1947.  A single lady and a Canadian couple who lived beside us did pioneer work.  Because their younger son became ill, she could not return, so for the final revision in 1962-63 he and his team did it alone, around our dining table, which was exciting and thrilling because more exact wording kept coming to light.

 

Now there are hundreds of Soura Christian churches, and there are about 25,000 people at their annual conference.   A Canadian lawyer sensed a call to study theology. Then in 1951 Dave and Ruby Hayward with their children learned Soura and were wonderful with men, women and youth. With a devout team they translated the entire Old Testament and commentaries. They are retired in Vancouver, where they and their oldest son, began and continue to lead the Joy Fellowship which, similar to L'Arche, works with mentally disabled adults.

"The entrance of God's Word gives light."

 


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