Persecution of Christians

Persecution of Christians began with Jesus.Christian persecution is any form of hostility directed towards people for no other reason than that they identify themselves as Christian. From verbal abuse to hostile attitudes, words and actions, Christians in many parts of the world genuinely suffer for their faith. It is not uncommon for Christians in some countries to suffer job discrimination, wrongful punishment, beatings, imprisonment and torture, and even rape and death.

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Islamic Furore

Caricatures of the Prophet.February 2006 will go down in the records as a month of international Islamic furore, anger and violence. On September 30, 2005, Denmark’s leading daily newspaper, Jyllands-Posten, published 12 caricatures/cartoons of the Muslim Prophet, Muhammed. It seems that some frustration had been expressed about the lack of graphic artists willing to illustrate books on Islam in fear of offending Muslim extremists. In response, the newspaper asked for submissions of illustrations of Muhammed. Twelve of the result were published.

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Alternative Healing

Alternative medical therapy.A percentage of Christians go to extremes and throw out everything that is different. However, it seems to be more sensible to be open to the possibility that alternative medicines and alternative therapies can help some people in some situations. Care and caution is needed though. Christians should neither blindly reject nor blindly accept all alternatives. With some alternative therapies, however, there can be alternative philosophies/religious concepts that are in conflict with Christian and Biblical thinking.

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Searching for Authentic Christian Leaders

Christian leader.The search is on – for authentic, genuine Christians – including genuine, authentic and Christlike pastors and other Christian leaders. For far too long Christians have been accused of hypocrisy, and the reality is that there have always been some in our midst (as there are in all sorts of other groups of people, from political parties to community service organisations and more). But today the problems in the Christian community have increased significantly and the reputation of the Christian Church and the cause of Jesus Christ is being badly damaged by problem people in pulpits and pews across the denominations – and around the world.

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Fear, Labelling and Shunning

Young JW preachers.A number of religious and cultic groups control members through fear, labelling and shunning. They build up a fear of the outside world, of disobedience, of literature from outside their group, of former members, and especially of anything former members may state verbally or in print. Former members are labelled as disgruntled, disobedient, unfaithful and worse, being referred to as “apostates” (or some similar term). They are accused of “leaving the truth” and therefore denying God, and not worthy of further association or contact of any kind. They are “kicked out”, disfellowshipped, shunned.

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What Price Happiness?

Fake happiness.In a number of areas Scientologists have been very busily promoting ‘Happiness’ under a hidden identity. The booklet: The Way to HAPPINESS – A Common Sense Guide to Better Living has been widely circulated and left in mail boxes. There have also been active efforts to distribute it in schools and elsewhere. Full of acceptable ‘do good’ suggestions (many borrowed from other sources, with slight amendments), plus dictionary definition footnote explanations, the booklet actively recruits unthinking well wishers to spread this Scientology ‘soft-sell’ materials for the organisation.

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Religious Bullies

Scientologist.Bullying often begins at school – in the very lowest of grades, but bullying is not limited to schools. Bullying is also rife in cyberspace, but it is not limited to teenage and young adult users of the internet. Bullying happens within in the military, but it is not limited to ranks and file members. Bullying also occurs in many religious circles – especially by people in various leadership roles and positions, but it is not limited to individuals. There are numerous religious groups where bullying is part of the group culture. Bullies use aggression, humiliation, intimidation, name-calling, threats and more to control, manipulate or silence others. Bullying should be a mandatory topic in religious studies courses.

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Programmed for Gullibility?

Blind faith in Christian leaders.In spite of all our technological advances in many areas of life, it seems that, in many ways, today’s world has become a more gullible place than it was a few generations ago. New Age spirituality continues to influence people into accepting numerous notions and ideas that would have been considered superstitious nonsense less than 50 years ago. In African, and some other, societies there has been a recent increase in ancient fears relating to the power of spirits, witches and other practitioners of questionable spirituality. People of varying ages, including children, have been murdered by mobs believing that the victims were involved in witchcraft resulting in harm or bad luck and therefore deserved their deaths.

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Cult of Personality

Jesus Christ.We like our heroes — and we like them to be better than average. From comic and cartoon characters to entertainers and sporting heroes — we like them to be super heroes; people to look up to and perhaps even model or copy. Sporting heroes and personalities have been with us almost since the beginning of time. Big strong men have always been regarded as heroes by the general population. Take Goliath of Gath — he was the tall super-hero who was the champion of the Philistines.

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Battle For The Mind Continues

Blown up bus after London bombings.Outrage and incredulity followed the terrorist bombings and attempted bombings in London on July 7 and 21, 2005 — outrage that it should happen in London and incredulity that the perpetrators were mostly British-born Muslims. Some of the immediate outrage had politicians and others making strong statements condemning the attacks and describing the bombers as evil, scum, filth and more — even before anything was known about them. While such re-actions are understandable, such descriptions of the individuals involved were not really appropriate.

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