Killing of children by ISIS: Hoax or Not (Part II)

“Tribal leaders said Sunday’s victims, who reportedly included 10 women and children, were lined up and publically shot as punishment for what IS sees at the tribe’s resistance.”

Taken from http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-29871068

Now tell me you want to question whether the beheading of children by ISIS was a rumour…

See my last post on https://ihaveareasontosing.wordpress.com/2014/10/17/message-from-dan-marilyn-wilson-hoax-or-not/

Message From Dan & Marilyn Wilson – Hoax or Not?

I know that many are asking whether or not this is a hoax.

After posting the urgent prayer request, one of my friends linked me to this: http://www.snopes.com/inboxer/prayer/seanmalone.asp. Was this a hoax? Would this statement undermine the credibility of the Christian’s prayer?

Let me just say a few things:

1. You are missing the point, hoax or no hoax

This message is aimed to spread the word to all fellow Christians, so that we are aware of the ISIS atrocities as well as to pray for the people who are being persecuted. The aim of the message is to unite the Christian community in prayer, regardless of whether or not ISIS is killing adults, men, women or children. If you read the entire message and then just narrow down into ‘Are they really beheading the children?’ then you have the wrong emphasis. You are missing the point.

To me, it’s the same as reading an article about what the Nazis did in the concentration camps in WWII, and after reading about the gassing, starvation, human experiments and torture etc, you look at one part and say ‘Did they really do that? I think we should verify this fact. They may not have done this.’ Then you’re missing the point. LOOK AT THE BIG PICTURE.

2. Is it really that hard to believe? 

Already there have been years of tension between the Shiites and Sunnis. These are extracts from the Amnesty International Report:

“In recent months, Shi’a militias have been abducting and killing Sunni civilian men in Baghdad and around the country.”

“The victims were abducted from their homes, workplace or from checkpoints. Many were later found dead, usually handcuffed and shot in the back of the head. Reports by families of the victims and witnesses have been corroborated by Ministry of Health workers, who told Amnesty International that in recent months they have received scores of bodies of unidentified men with gunshot wounds to the head and often with their hands bound together with metal or plastic handcuffs, rope or cloth. Photographs of several bodies shown to Amnesty International by victims’ relatives and others viewed at Baghdad’s morgue, reveal a consistent pattern of deliberate, execution-style killings.”

The truth is that ISIS is killing people, Christian or not Christian, although it seems to be Christians especially. If ISIS is willing to behead someone live on camera to the world,  then following inductive reasoning and correct premises, then I don’t see why they won’t kill children as well. Throughout history, many organisations and individuals have murdered people – adults, toddlers, babies – why is it so hard to believe that ISIS will do the same?

Why has there been no news from major news broadcasters?

I’m not saying that this is true, but think about it, the situation in the message is dire, the UN has withdrawn and governments are not doing anything to verify the beheadings or remedy the situation. This is a political issue: a significant piece of news that could potentially shatter the reputation of states and politicians for the lack of action. To broadcast it would possibly incite public discussion and anger.

Conclusion: 

When people focus on that little point, it feels like children being beheaded is infinitely worse than adults being beheaded. At the end of the day, if you remove the sensationalism of children being beheaded, it still remains that the situation is dire. It doesn’t make it better, and it definitely doesn’t make it okay.

*Disclaimer: I am not an expert in this area. These are just my thoughts. Feel welcome to comment.

Latest post: https://ihaveareasontosing.wordpress.com/2014/11/02/beheading-of-children-by-isis-hoax-or-not-part-ii/

And So, My Second Year Begins…

As some of you would know, I started my second year as a law student this week, and I must say, it has been an excellent start!

I get Mondays off (yes!) and my first lesson of the week is ‘Religion and Law’, which I think I will thoroughly enjoy!

The Religion and Law module basically explores how the state and religion overlap, divide and clash. It discusses the notion of religion liberty and discrimination in different constitutional arrangements and in the various social aspects of education, private life, International human rights scene and in the UK.

Some interesting case law to point out:

Multani v Commission scolaire Marguerite-Bourgeoys: Canadian case questioning the constitutional right of a Sikh pupil to wear kirpan (religious ceremonial knife) at school.

Begun v Denbigh High School: UK case involving the wearing of the burqa in school.

More interesting was the Swiss minaret ban in 2009, where the country as a collective community voted in support of this ban.

This is truly an interesting topic, especially in the light of recent global activity and fears.

Yet, what I found more interesting was that many of these cases come up because there seems to be some sort of religious discrimination. For example, there was a dispute on whether crucifixes should be hung in classrooms in Italy. I found it amazing that the crucifix is only a cross carved out of wood with a dying man. It is simply hung on the wall, no flashing lights; no judgment; nothing but the cross. Yet, it can incite so much discussion, hatred and passion. The thing that presses me is why there is so much commotion about religion. Christianity is one of the beliefs that I believe have a positive impact of people’s lifestyles and values – yet why so much opposition?

Did we offend you in any way? In fact, did other religions offend you? Are we a threat to you?

As much as we are a modern society, I am still amazed by the power and impact of religion, not only on individuals, but on the laws and the state.

Wow.

…Evandalism?!

Probably the first real blog post I have written for awhile (sorry, I’ve been busy with Freshers week and house shopping), but I thought I’d pen my thoughts about evandalism.

Evandalism?

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Yup, that’s right. I was very reminded of it when the vicar at church yesterday talked about it. Evandalism is when we twist evangelism to the point that it no longer appeals or attracts people, but proves to be an annoyance or detrimental.

Last week, I went down to London and felt bombarded by the number of flyers that were handed to be about Christianity. Similar flyers had been given to me when I was in Singapore, and I noticed that they were all the same –

The first thing they put in big font was the WRATH OF GOD.

Really? The wrath of God? You want to give flyers to non-Christians and the first thing you tell them is about God’s anger?

Honestly, I sometimes feel disappointed and a little ashamed that I associate myself with tthem. I am not saying that we should discount the wrath of God and judgment, but I think that we must really assess the situation and context, and be more perceptive about how we portray our God.

It’s the same thing as distributing flyers about a guest speaker, and the first thing that is said about him is his wrath and judgment on all mankind. Wow. Thanks. Just what we wanted to know.

And if people do turn to Christianity because of their fear of God’s wrath, then I can firmly say that they have missed the core of Christianity: grace, love and mercy. Jesus says go and make disciples of all nations – disciples who know and love God; not servants who live in fear of God’s judgment. Moreover, we have failed as ambassadors of Christ because we have not shown what christianity and Jesus’ sacrifice was about.

Just to clarify, I’m not saying that we should not distribute flyers about Christianity to others. If God has called you to do it, then go ahead. But make sure that the content and that what stands out is not repulsive and unattractive to a non-believer who has a different set of values, paradigm and viewpoint from us Christians.

Another thing that got me a little upset was when I kindly told one of the distributors that I was Christian. He looked at me, and still gave me a flyer saying that I needed one. So much for being a fellow brother-in-Christ!

So Izzy, what do we do then?

1. Pray for people

Do everything in prayer. Don’t always try to take things into your own hands and convert them. Remember, God does the converting, we don’t. Sometimes, prayer is more powerful that walking around in the streets and trying to shove the gospel in people’s faces.

Remember that prayer is a powerful weapon. And as my church friend once said, ‘When you pray, the spiritual realm moves.

2. Identify people’s needs

The gospel is for everyone, and that still holds true! Yet, we need to tailor it to everyone’s needs. We need to identify the broken things in their lives, what is going wrong and why it is going wrong.

A person suffering from depression does not want to hear about the wrath of God. He wants to hear about the love of God and how God holds his life in the palm of His hands.

A person suffering from cancer does not want to hear about the wrath of God. She wants to know about God’s joy and peace in times of difficulty, and His companionship and healing.

I was very much reminded of this when I was decorating my room in my new house in Durham. Last week, I had been extremely excited about all the photos I had pasted on the walls and cupboards, but I began to realise that I was no longer noticing them over the course of a few days. Very soon, it just became a wall and some cupboards to me. In the same way, when we look at a person, we cannot simply view them as a person. We have to look at the photos and memories that have been pasted on their walls and cupboards. What is their life story? How have their memories and past made them who they are now? How has their past affected them? And in what can Christianity be to them?

3. Be careful of your own words and actions

Evangelism is also about living your own life in a way that is pleasing and glorifying to God. Yes, we fall short many times and I have many times. However, as my brother said ‘Sometimes, we are the only bibles people ever read.

Additionally, tell them your testimony! Everyone loves a good story and everyone is an extraordinary person. No testimony is ordinary. Our God is a personal God and we should reveal that side of Him to our non-Christian friends.

So that’s my little rant and thoughts on evandalism. Hope this has got you thinking and maybe, change the way you portray our God.