This is the first of the posts on Great Nations. This first post is an introduction on our common spiritual foundation. Part 1 is my reflection on China’s implosion into Communism (Part 1), followed by nations rising from the East (Part 2), and our need for spiritual foundations (Part 3).
When siblings become rivals, they provoke, prod and poke each other. At their worst, they might sometimes hurt one another. In life, when two siblings fight, they can be so hard on one another they end-up beating each up black and blue. At other times, ironically, when an outsider intrudes upon one of the siblings, the other sibling comes to the other’s rescue. I can remember, I have had both my share of fights and rescues.
Brothers will be brothers. They can love and hate one another. When they are deep into rivalry, they will always remain as brothers. In the bible, there were sets of two rival siblings, Cain and Abel (Genesis 2), and Esau and Jacob (Genesis 25). These were rivals who ended hurting one another—one brother murdered the other sibling.
In Genesis, there was a record of two people whom God blessed. One was a woman, Hagar, and the other, Sarah. The two were not sisters but rival wives of Abraham. The two women both produced offspring that populated the earth. One is thought to have become an Arab people. The other have become the Jewish nation. These two ethnic nations still remain great peoples.
People descended from Hagar:
“God heard the boy crying, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, “What is the matter, Hagar? Do not be afraid; God has heard the boy crying as he lies there. Lift the boy up and take him by the hand, for I will make him into a great nation.” (Genesis 21:17-18)
People descended from Sarah:
“The angel of the Lord called to Abraham from heaven a second time and said, “I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.” (Genesis 22:15-18)
In the biblical past, the two nations of Hagar and Abraham have not been at peace with one another. They have been sibling rivals for centuries. They have cut each other down with hurtful words and war. Islamic nations can achieve prosperity if they maintain peace within their own sibling nations like Israel.
I pray that these two great peoples do eventually find peace with one another so that God’s blessings may be poured out upon their peoples and lands. May God bless these two Abrahamic traditions and grant them peace and prosperity.
In the brotherhood of nations, one nation might fight another nation with weapons that kill—brother against brother, sister against sister. Sometimes, they take jabs at one another using words. Sometimes they taunt one another using rockets, grenades and missiles. Arguments and battles of oratory brilliance can spark more than just lightening rods. They can spark rockets and explosives that can kill thousands, if not millions of innocent people.
Our hope is, of course, that their disputes do not end up with fatalities. Inevitably, there will be some bloodshed. Hopefully, however, there will eventually be healing and friendship. As nations continue to struggle with one another around the world, I hope that we as Christians might pray for peace around the world. A few examples in modern times are: North Korea and South Korea; East Germany and West Germany. There are other examples on every continent.
As Christians, we hope that we do not pound the other nation into submission. We pray that rival nations may resolve their disputes. We pray that sibling nations might put away their arms and offer gifts and palm branches of peace.
Throughout history, nations do rise up from ashes to become great nations. Nations will also fall from grace and end up becoming crippled, grow old and die. Nations ought never take for granted their golden days of prosperity. They need to count their blessings and remember to thank God for the prosperity that have been bestowed upon them in their history.
The United States, the U.K., Canada, and other western nations have become great nations. However, there is always the possibility that they might fall from grace, become impoverished, and worse, die. Think of the Assyrians and Babylonians. Where are they today? They have become merely records written in human history.
There is a need for a foundation of nations. Rivalry and fighting is not it.
My father told me horror stories about communism. He left China after it imploded on itself (e.g., the Cultural Revolution and the Great Leap Forward). He will never forget, and perhaps never forgive what the Communists did to destroy China and the Chinese people. From 1949 to 1978, China was trapped in poverty. People starved to death. The People’s Revolution was a disaster.
Here in the west, we must never forget the horrors of socialism. We must never allow socialism to creep into our social consciousness as a viable alternative. It cannot ever become an alternative. If implemented, the ideas of Bernie Sanders, the Green New Deal, etc., would be horrifying for any free nation. It would set the nation on a course going backwards.
History is a good teacher. Back in 1949, the Chinese people had bought into the lie that socialism/communism was going to be good for them. China wasn’t doing so well due to economic colonialism. The tea trade, opium, and slave trade happening around the world had sunk China into a deeper state of social confusion. It needed a way out and the Chinese thought that perhaps Communism could offer a way out of their state.
Maoist Communists got into power. Their authoritarian regime inflicted huge economic, social, political and structural damage upon China. It got worse. It had set itself back for many generations and is still far behind what it could have been if China had not taken the route of socialism. It has taken decades and generations to fix the big mess it created for itself. It is still in recovery mode today.
Since 1978, Deng Xiaoping’s reforms enabled a collosal reversal away from its old-style communism. During the last four decades, China has undergone a huge economic reform due to Deng Xiaoping. It’s market system has enabled 800 million people to climb out of poverty creating the largest middle class in the world.
It’s truly an economic miracle that is happening today. However, this ought to be received as a testament that socialism does not work. Do not misunderstand this as a credit due to socialism. China’s economic miracle happened because of free-market enterprise within the special economic zones (though couched within a centralized governing structure). Insiders have already rejected old style socialism while remaining loyal to The Party.
An extraordinary social reform has also taken place. Though still imperfect today, society is much freer today than when under Mao’s Communist rule. There are far fewer travel restrictions. Millions of Chinese have received education from abroad, and there will be millions more in the future. In 2018, 134 million Chinese tourists traveled overseas.
Today, there are also a technological and infrastructural reforms. China is becoming a technological giant. It is becoming a leader in robotics, artificial intelligence, and a giant in green solar energy. Today, there are already more billionaires in China than in the U.S.
China is reforming the country incrementally from the inside. Gradual change is safer and more secure than a sudden change. Another revolution into free-market capitalism might cause a break-up of the country into smaller regions.
Akin to its Confucius history, Chinese people are respectful of their own political history and father of reform, Deng Xiaoping. They will not jeopardize their gains by making too much of a sudden shift. A gradual shift will eventually happen (but we just won’t tell them).
Again, the reason for this post? The proposed Green New Deal. I know we’re not looking at old-style communism. But we must reject this entire philosophy as a whole. Socialism in any form does not work. Capitalism is proven to work.
When we look at what is happening in today’s modern China, we must be factor in that China had huge setbacks due to socialism. If it were not for communism, China could be where South Korea is today. East Asians are smart, industrious, and have a drive to succeed in every way. They will succeed socially, economically, politically, and hopefully, spiritually.
As a Christian, I pray for spiritual prosperity to lead the nation into true success. Without a deep and guiding spirituality, China will eventually lose steam and sink into apathy and indifference. This has already happened in many western nations in Europe and sections of American culture.
China has recognized the mistake it made in 1949. Today’s nation states ought to remember the mistakes made throughout history. What Russia could have been is another story in itself. And what are still today’s Cuba and North Korea are utter disasters.
As in the Soviet Union, under Chairman Mao, the educated Chinese were either forcibly removed from their homes and confined to labor camps, jailed or killed. All property owners had their property confiscated. Anyone with property and money had their property seized. The fortunate ones fled early to other parts of Asia like Singapore.
Anyone with skills, talent and gifts were considered to be the elite bourgois, and therefore, seen as suspect. If they refused to join and pledge loyalty to the Chinese Communist Party, they were either jailed, beaten or killed, or all three.
As a result, millions of people starved to death because of this stubborn socialistic ideology. Millions of people were stuck indefinitely in poverty. By the time they discovered Communion/Socialism was not the solution, it was too late. They were now subjected under the new political ruling class. The Communist Party used fear and intimidation to control the masses–even entire families and churches. As a result, the church went underground.
Note, even today, the regime is still demolishing large evangelical churches that refuse to conform to Party ideologies because they believe in God as their supreme leader rather than the State (NY Times article and UK Express article).
There was no escape because no one was left with money to start businesses. There was no one left with education and capital to invent new things or be creative with their talents.
Marxist ideologies of making everyone the same and economically equal was wrong-headed. Socialism failed the millions of people they wanted to help escape poverty. Their own poverty became more entrenched. Adults suffered. Children suffered. The poor became poorer.
The only rich people were the Communist officials who accepted bribes. The result was far worse. China imploded into itself. No one had the courage to complain against the Communist Party. The Party became god. The Party rewarded those who reported on family members, friends, and neighbors who were sympathetic to the bourgeois. The Communist state encouraged Party members to betray their own family and friends. Very sad.
In the early days of Communism, they controlled the government-run media to feed the people Party propaganda. North Korea is using a similar propaganda media machine today. (Today, CNN and CNBC are also leftist propaganda media-machines in America, minus the centralized government-control). They do not critique their own socialistic policies. They just play the game and report what they are told. News agencies are authentically fake news. There is nothing more fake than the authoritarian socialistic propaganda machines.
Maoist China and today’s North Korea know how to put on a charade. Men, women and children are told to put on happy faces, clean up the streets and add a new coat of paint. Make everything look new and happy, while deep inside, the pain of socialism continues to hurt. It’s like a make-believe Disneyworld, but socialist-style. The people of Cuba, Vietnam and North Korea know it’s all a lie. They want to change but live in fear of the Communist state.
Liberals, leftists, and socialists have not helped anyone except themselves. Look at Venezuela and what they’ve done to their own country today. It has self-imploded, following in the footsteps of other socialist countries. It hasn’t learned from history’s mistakes. The people propelled crooked leaders into power who benefit from their own corrupt system of government.
It amazes me that an entire nation can become stuck in its own endless cycle of corruption without an access of escape. Thank God we have representative democracies, or a democratic republic in the U.S. We can freely elect new representatives into government to replace undesirable representatives. It’s a dynamic system of government. Socialistic authoritarian countries do not hold free elections. Fellow ideologues are appointed into power. This has begun to happen in the once free city-state of Hong Kong, thus, the yellow umbrella movement in 2014.
Does anything good ever come out of pure Communism and socialism? Name one country where it has.
I would not label today’s China as a pure Communist system (even though they are in name). They do not have old-age pensions or socialized medicare. Seniors and the poor actually have to fend for themselves, or they need to be taken care of by their children.
In actual practice, Maoist and Stalinist Communism had dug a deep pit for the people. The rich become poor; and the poor have no chance of becoming rich. There is no middle class. There is only a large mass of impoverished people. For those who wait for the dream, there will only be darkness at the end of the tunnel. Once they use up people’s money and intellectual capital, there will be nothing left to share. There is no incentive to create wealth merely to be taken away. Everyone will remain poor.
This is the same fate awaiting for people fighting for the Green New Deal and other socialistic-type parties. Industries will grow weaker and eventually collapse into themselves due to their lack of social and economic liberties.
Socialism’s goals and ideals may appear attractive on the outside. It spouts false propaganda giving false hope to the poor, the less-educated, and the disadvantaged. We must educate ourselves by learning about history. Some of our contemporary politicians today, e.g., Barack Obama, Pierre Trudeau (father of Justin Trudeau), and Bernie Sanders were educated by leftist ideologues at leftist institutions. They are idealogues with ideas that do not actually work.
They did not see the full scope of history along with their mistakes. They were also misguided by the charade of socialism, and by the omission of Communist errors. Have you ever heard them talk about the tragic errors of historic Communism? No! It does not register on their level of consciousness. You will only hear and learn about these historic mistakes by reading and learning from free-market sources.
With every generation, socialism will try to rear its ugly head. They might tack on a fresh and hip label: “Democratic…” or “People’s…” It’s really just mascara and lipstick to make it look attractive to the younger generations. These labels are a facade for something sinister hidden within. Each generation must be forewarned of the potential dangers lurking. May our generation today not make the same mistakes that were made in history. Reject any and all forms of socialism.
The majority of Americans have rejected the socialist ideas of Bernie Sanders. I hope Americans will also reject this new Green New Deal and the leftist ideology of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ed Markey.
Socialism will never stop trying to reinvent itself. It will don a new disguise, try out a new look, and call itself something fresh and exciting. Believe me, there is nothing new under the sun. Don’t be fooled. The mascara, the blush, and lipstick will never cover up its hideousness on the inside. On the exterior, it might sound and look appealing, but on the inside, it’s all the same. It will utterly fail the people and set nations back for decades and generations.
America, please do not fall for socialism. Doing so would be at America’s peril. Same goes for Europe, Canada and other countries who might find these ideas appealing. Their policies would set nations back, as socialism did to China.
America must stand, if even alone, to be that light in the darkness. Free-market capitalism balanced with people’s love and compassion for their fellow human will always win.
Stealing and petty offenses are a no-no. It’s the same, whether it’s here in Canada, the U.S. or in Japan. In Japan, they are experiencing an increase in older people committing offences. It’s an elderly crime wave by grandpas and grandmas. It is sad.
Here’s the irony. These seniors want to go to jail. The reason: they are reaching pensionable age and running out of money. They are choosing to live in jail because it’s free. Free food. Free housing.
A rational senior might easily think: “Well, why not? Better to live in the comforts of a jail than starve on the streets.” Sounds rational to me too.
One senior said, “I reached pension age and then I ran out of money. So it occurred to me – perhaps I could live for free if I lived in jail,” he says….”So I took a bicycle and rode it to the police station and told the guy there: ‘Look, I took this.’
This is sad. In traditional Asian-Japanese culture, the children will take care of the parents. They are three or even four generation households. But when there is a break-down in families and in society, people get left behind.
“Small, slender, and with a tendency to giggle, Toshio looks nothing like a habitual criminal, much less someone who’d threaten women with knives. But after he was released from his first sentence, that’s exactly what he did.
“I went to a park and just threatened them. I wasn’t intending to do any harm. I just showed the knife to them hoping one of them would call the police. One did.”
Altogether, Toshio has spent half of the last eight years in jail.
I ask him if he likes being in prison, and he points out an additional financial upside – his pension continues to be paid even while he’s inside.
“It’s not that I like it but I can stay there for free,” he says. “And when I get out I have saved some money. So it is not that painful.”
Japan is a law-abiding society. Crime happens rarely in this Confucion-oriented country. You can leave a phone or a wallet on a subway and likely, no one will steal it. They will return it to someone at the office for lost & found. The BBC article stated:
“In 1997 this age group accounted for about one in 20 convictions but 20 years later the figure had grown to more than one in five – a rate that far outstrips the growth of the over-65s as a proportion of the population (though they now make up more than a quarter of the total).”
A confucianist culture like Japan would not dream of levying harsh punish upon their elders for this kind of crime. Confucian stated:
The Duke of Sheh told Confucius: In my land, there are just men.
If a father steals a sheep, the son will testify against him.
Confucius said: The just men in my land are different from this.
The father conceals the wrongs of his son, and the son conceals the wrongs of his father. This is justice.
In this Asian shame-based culture, the punishment for such a crime will not be huge. The bigger shame in this for Japanese people will be the inability to support their own senior citizens.
The birthrate in Japan has declined such that the younger generation will not be able to support the public pension plans of the older generations.
It is already happening in South Korea. China will be in a similar situation in the very near future. There is a shameful thing going on with Bucchus ladies (granny prostitution) in Asia and South Korea. It is invisible and can exists in cultures where younger generations are supposed to take care of the older generations (read article here).
North America and Europe will also come to similar predicament. Is there anything else we can do to support our senior’s public pension plans? Increase taxes? Not without a lot of push-back from our hard working tax-paying citizens.
If our birthrates do not increase, do we increase our immigration rates in order to sustain a steady base of tax contributors? Here in Canada, we are already doing this. Many countries are also doing the same.
Compassion and capitalism must go hand-in-hand in order for society to function well. This is where the Church and Christians can make a difference. We need not turn to socialism, as I said in my previous post on socialism. It must not be an option. As a society, we must take action to take care of our seniors, our mentally ill, and our vulnerable who need our care.
President Trump’s State of the Union (SOTU) address was a success tonight. I feel it was his best speech ever as president. He spoke with conviction, and it made Americans feel proud to be American.
It was a very memorable speech. He spoke about the greatness of America. He said it was not about the agenda of the Republicans nor the Democrats. It was about one nation, the United States of America.
There were many moments when he spoke of cooperation calling both parties to come together. He tried pulling both Republican and Democrats together to make a better country by passing bills that will benefit Americans. He has tried to unite them by giving them enough face to make compromises in the future.
Trump, speaking on abortion also reinforced in the minds of pro-lifers his loyalty to them and the belief in the sanctity of life, inside and outside the womb. I was surprised that the Democratic women in white could not even stand to show some solidarity for banning full-term abortion. Abortion must have some limits, otherwise, one can end up be blind to murder outside the womb.
I also liked his jab at non-sensical politically-driven investigations. This Robert Mueller investigation should come to a stop ASAP. It’s clearly a witch hunt, has always been one, and makes the Democrats look absolutely stupid and partisan.
This was a big win for Trump tonight, not only on social and security issues, but also on the economy. His trade policy has been conducive to huge gains in job creation in the U.S. The economy and jobs have has made huge gains for the middle class, the lower income, for racial minorities, and also for women.
I agree that the NAFTA trade deal had been seen as beneficial for Canada and for Mexico. I have to admit that the U.S. could always have done better for itself because I also believe in fair trade, not necessarily free trade. Free trade is not good unless it’s also fair trade. He was also tough on trade with China. That was good. All trade must be fair.
Overall, I thought it was definitely his greatest speech ever. There were many parts of the speech where he used live examples of people who contributed to making a better country. Two of his examples were persons who were unfairly sentenced in prison but chose to make a better place where they were. Very moving and inspiring.
If I were American, I would have been proud of him. I think it has the potential to pull some Democrats together with Republicans to make some deals in the future. Kudos to President Donald Trump. May God continue to bless America.
As people and as Christians, we want to be compassionate. We hate being mislabeled. We are vulnerable when it comes to a sensitive topic of migration or immigration. The media on the left (e.g., CNN, CNBC) do not help when they fling mud at conservatives with disregard and misuse their labels like: “racist” or “uncompassionate”. No one likes that.
Knowing what the say and what to do when it comes to immigration policies can be a challenge. When we see photos and videos of the caravans such as this one, it can rouse discomforting feelings. “What do we do about this? What do we do when they get here?”
It caused me to reflect on what the bible has to say. The problems is that the bible is not comprehensive on this. I’m left to interpret who is a “foreigner” (verses below).
Here’s the rub. How do you define a “foreigner” according to these distinctions below?
as a refugee?
as a tourist on a legal tourist visa?
as a qualified legal immigrant
as an illegal migrant
as a naturalized citizen (a former immigrant who has now become a citizen)
A Syrian refugee entering the United States can be a “foreigner”, and so can an American vacationing in Cancun, Mexico.
We are to be moral and ethical in how we treat foreigners. It’s not so simple when it comes down to the public discourse and funding. Questions might be: “How much? How much do we allocate to “loving the foreigner”? What is considered fair?
Is the “foreigner” the person is a visitor on a tourist visa, or an illegal immigrant, or a refugee, or a land-immigrant, or a naturalized citizen?
Below are several verses that speak on the foreigner:
When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. (Leviticus 19:33-34)
Do not oppress a foreigner; you yourselves know how it feels to be foreigners, because you were foreigners in Egypt. (Exodus 23:9)
When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Do not go over your vineyard a second time or pick up the grapes that have fallen. Leave them for the poor and the foreigner. (Leviticus 19:9-10)
He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt. (Deuteronomy 10:18-19).
It is a fact that the number of migrants will have dwindled by the time they make it near the border. There is data yet to be seen in order to determine the numbers of migrants coming from South American countries who actually make it across or near the U.S.-Mexico border.
Some will give up and not bother trying to cross over. Some give up somewhere in Mexico far from the U.S.-Mexico border. Some make it to the border, get caught and are sent back. Some actually do make it across the border illegally. (I have blogged about this in my post on the border wall).
I’m not presenting a solution–just the problem. The migrant issue is complicated and to speak on this issue is difficult.
We can pray for our leaders that God would give them strength ane wisdom to handle immigration and national security issues.
Professor Gene Veith posted on the Cranach blog about a recent abortion bill in Virginia.
Governor Northam (D-VA) expressed his opinion on whether a baby who is born (already out of the womb) would get to live or die.
“If a mother is in labor, I can tell you exactly what would happen. The infant would be delivered. The infant would be kept comfortable. The infant would be resuscitated if that’s what the mother and the family desired, and then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and the mother,” [Virginia governor Ralph] Northam said, alluding to the physician and mother discussing whether the born infant should live or die.” (video here).
This is so clearly murder and NOT abortion. Once a life is already outside of the woman’s womb, even a pro-choice advocate would consider that a life independent of the mother.
I echo Veith’s sentiment exactly: “There is no limit to what pro-abortionists would do to an unwanted child. No limit.”
Another blogger, Mary Pezzulo at the Steel Magnificat blog blogged a well thought out post of great examples that distinguish life and death situations in the context of abortion. It’s definitely worth the read.
This issue is going way too far. Liberals have been pushing further and further on abortion. They’ve gone well beyond what most people would feel comfortable with. To even consider this issue is so far away from common sense.
Those who may be pro-choice could shy away from this opinion.
Pro-abortion activists already have their way and they want more. This bill already written will likely not pass a Republican majority in the house.
Having a woman make a decision on what to do with her body is one thing, but once a baby is outside of the womb, that life is the life beyond the mother.
The baby that is living and breathing on its own clearly has a life of its own. Ending that baby’s life would be killing and murder. Period.
Is one life more valuable than the other? Is one life worth less than the other? How would the intentional ending of the life not be considered murder?
There is a case in Ontario, Canada where a nurse was tried and convicted of murder in a senior’s retirement home. She will be going to jail. Note: killing without their consent. The killing of a senior citizen is clearly murder. Seems to be no denial by liberals yet anyway.
What is the difference between a 100-year-old man or woman and a newborn baby? Additional consideration: both have deformities. Thrown in one more consideration. In both cases, the two lives are “Unviable” and would not live longer than 1-3 years.
In my humble opinion, there is no difference. Life is life–no matter one’s age.
This can be a very slippery slope. The factor comes down to timing. Yes, timing.
Consider this. To allow that same baby to live a little longer into infancy or toddlerhood, it becomes a case of murder.
In this case, moral judgment in the killing of a baby (already born / out of the womb) has become blurred in the minds of some liberals. Where is their moral compass?
How far can we let this nonsense go? I am so glad the March for Life 2019 (DC) (blogged here) was so well attended. As a society, we need to take a stand and not be afraid to take a clear stand on these moral issues.
Recently, President Kim fired a missile past Japan into the Pacific Ocean. We certainly have more reason to fear an apocalyptic end-of-the-world scenario with the likes of Kim Jung Un of North Korea.
These days, political and military operatives are seriously considering the options of a pre-emptive strike by taking out Kim Jung Un. See Washington Posts article here. Many of us would feel safer without Emperor Kim. He is an unstable person who just might launch a missile.
What are the ethics of taking out a political leader to create a safer situation? If we can and it’s convenient to do so, then why not? I’m sure many have considered committing the deed, then repent later for our consequences. We’ve done it before so it’s nothing too serious, right (e.g., Saddam Hussein)?
As a Christian, I wish Scripture were more clear about violent commitments of war but there isn’t. What are the ethics of pre-emptive strikes? Sure, there are many examples of war and battle in the Old Testament/Hebrew scripture, but are there clear biblical rules and statutes about this issue?
The news of terrorism in Paris, France, this past week, has taken many people on an emotional roller coaster. What do we make of all this violence and killing in Paris? All sorts of questions have been rolling through my mind. Will it happen in other free cities in the world?
In our feelings of sadness and anger, we might have feelings and thoughts like, “Should we blow up ISIS/ISIL till kingdom come?”… or would that just create more hurt in the world? Back when the Twin Towers came down in NYC, I remember having similar feelings–that if we should cower and absorb the blow of the enemy, we’d be weak and cowardly.
In the midst of our turmoil, yes, we need to “do something,” but yet, I feel that we also need to take a step back. I, for one, feel the pain of the innocent 129 people in Paris who were murdered (…and yes, it’s easy for me to say this because I was not personally affected.) I also feel the shame for my non-Christian friends (including Muslims) who hate what happened in France. Moreover, what confuses and shakes me up is when I hear that a few of these young terrorists were homegrown in the west. That really makes me wonder “Why?!”
Nevertheless, the threat of ISIL is very real. These ideologically-driven terrorists are actually out to wipe out and decimate western (and Christian) civilization. We do need to defend ourselves with diligence. We do need to raise our shields in self-defence against the forces out to hurt and kill innocent people.
As people who are in Christ Jesus, we can recall what our Lord and Saviour said:
“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you. “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. (Gospel of Matthew, ch. 5, verses 38-45, Holy Bible)
This passage has always irked me, especially when I feel personally hurt by enemies. Now when we are collectively feeling the pain of death, Jesus’ statement above is never easy to accept.
I don’t believe in pacifism; but nor do I believe that revenge-based, eye-for-eye retaliation can solve the world’s problems of terrorism.
Who is the enemy behind the enemy here? I would point to the evil one, the devil. The Spirit of evil One in the world wants all people to continue living in ignorance, confusion, hate, and division.
We can pray on several fronts: 1) for ourselves, that we will not be driven by fear and anger; and, 2) for our enemies who seek to hurt innocent people, that they may come to experience the love of God in their own lives. People who seek power and control will mis-believe that controlling others through war and violence is the way to peace and unity. It is not! Humanity has done this for ages in the name of religion and world peace (including Roman emperors, the Crusaders, dictators like Hitler and Pol Pot, and now, radical Islamic terrorists).
Ultimately, only the Spirit of God, and forgiveness through Christ Jesus, can bring true peace, unity and love into the lives of people in the world.
Psalm 19:1 says: “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.”
Thomas Merton, a Catholic contemplative said:
“A tree gives glory to God by being a tree. For in being what God means it to be it is obeying Him. It “consents,” so to speak, to His creative love. It is expressing an idea which is in God and which is not distinct from the essence of God, and therefore imitates God by being a tree. The more a tree is like itself, the more it is like Him. If it tries to be like something else which it was never intended to be, it would be less like God and therefore it would give Him less glory.” Thomas Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation (1961), ch.5.
In our new age of science and genetic re-engineering of GMO foods, chimera and cyborg technologies, there is always the possibility that these bio-technologies can go sideways. If human beings try to re-create something into what it was never intended to be, I wonder if it would then be glorifying to God?
It used to be that chimeras (part human–part animal) and cyborgs (part human–part machine) were a thing only from science fiction movies, comic books, and fantasy animations, but these are now a reality today. Many of the products we eat today have been genetically modified. They’re able to implant animal DNA into the foods we eat in order to allow it to grow faster and be less prone to disease. If you knew what science and technology can do, you may never look at your food the same way again. Science today can manipulate genes in plants, animals and human beings that might shock people to their core.
This week, our family was eating seedless watermelon and grapes; and homemade popcorn, possibly from GMO kernals. Many people buy foods from the grocery stores, eat it, and never consider how it’s already been genetically modified. Many might even be dangerous to human health. Did God ever create edible fruits without seeds? No, I doubt it was ever God’s intention. According to the book of Genesis, you would think that God intended for all living things to reproduce itself and multiply. Is this type of human re-creation (or manipulation) glorifying to God or distorting God’s creation?
• Thousands of sheep, buffalo, and goats in India died after grazing on Bt cotton plants
• Mice eating GM corn for the long term had fewer, and smaller, babies
• More than half the babies of mother rats fed GM soy died within three weeks, and were smaller
• Testicle cells of mice and rats on a GM soy change significantly
• By the third generation, most GM soy-fed hamsters lost the ability to have babies
• Rodents fed GM corn and soy showed immune system responses and signs of toxicity
• Cooked GM soy contains as much as 7-times the amount of a known soy allergen
• Soy allergies skyrocketed by 50% in the UK, soon after GM soy was introduced
• The stomach lining of rats fed GM potatoes showed excessive cell growth, a condition that may lead to cancer.
• Studies showed organ lesions, altered liver and pancreas cells, changed enzyme levels, etc. (Source: website here; see here)
We like to play God, and as a result, we do things that God likely never intended. Some things may bring better health and advancement to society, but some things can just be plain frightening. No wonder why cancer and autism rates have skyrocketed and infertility has increased. What’s been killing the bee and butterfly populations around the world? The end of the birds and the bees may spell an end to the human race as we know it. We might never fully know the harms done to us as human beings until 50 years down the road when it’s all too late…and it’s irreversibly damaged our health and human genetics.
If we move into an age of Iron Man and Planet of the Apes, we will need strong morals and ethics to keep us from re-creating some really weird things before they’re introduced into our world.
Due to increased radical, jihadist terrorism via Islamic State (IS) and Al-Queda, our world today is now on a much higher alert: e.g., two recent attacks in Canada, and most recently, the Charlie Hebdo-related terror attack in France that killed 14 people, and the beheading of two Japanese hostages.
It is no longer a secret that in the United States, the National Security Agency (NSA) has been setting itself up to grab much more personal/private information from U.S. residents and citizens. Today, the NSA is building a huge complex in the state of Utah to collect unfathomable amount of personal information. This will intrude upon the privacy of not only American citizens, but of people around the world. (Thanks to Edward Snowden’s uncovering the government’s covert plans). Snowden has sought exile in Russia in order to evade American authorities who want to press charges against him. He recently spoke to 1,000 students at Upper Canada College via video.
Canada has just unveiled its new security legislation. The risk is that it would include sweeping new powers to CSIS that will allow the government to collect private information from people without our consent or knowledge. Canada has set itself up for a similar move toward more intrusion upon our privacy in the attempt of increasing national security.
Our private information like photos, addresses, etc. on Facebook, Gmail, Hotmail, and other social media are no longer private. Neither is surfing the web on Bell and Rogers wifi. Intrusion of privacy will be the new price we pay for using social media. Governments obviously appreciate the greater ease of collecting private information. Facebook has given the government agencies a huge boost in greater information. If this intrusion upon our privacy becomes more widely known by the public, more people will be leaving social media. People will be choosing to close their Facebook accounts. As people, we love and value our privacy even though we have nothing to hide.
The question is: will this prevent or stop the “would-be” terrorists from their heinous crimes, probably not. They will probably figure out new ways to hide their communications, while the privacy of innocent civilians are tampered with. The argument might be analogous to the gun-control debate: Would registering legal firearms prevent criminals from using illegal guns. Personally, I think…Not. Criminals are not dummies. Would-be criminals will find ways to evade detection of their covert criminal activities. The danger I fear is that innocent people would be hurt, framed, or caught in the cross-fire.
Like most law-abiding citizens, we want the plans of terrorists thwarted, but we also wish to have our privacy respected. Either way, we might have no choice. We are entering a less private world, and a less safer world. But if we want a society with more privacy, then we need to fight for our beloved freedoms. What kind of world do we prefer to live in?