Category Archives: Religious issues

“TANTRIC JESUS”: A RAPID CRITICAL RESPONSE

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A new book by James Hughes Reho, Tantric  Jesus (published 27th Jan in America, 9th March in UK), is the only study I shall have characterized, if not exactly reviewed, after reading blurbs and net excerpts. Though I shall probably get round to reading the whole in due time, I don't feel a strong urge as this is less a work to absorb and critique at leisure than in all seriousness to warn against, even condemn without further ado.

Christian notions of the body as temple is the author’s reasonable enough starting point. For years and in the course of inquiries like Temple Mysteries and Spiritual Efficiency, Solomon’s Tantric Song and The Great Circle: Asia, David and God Consciousness,   and even in poetry like Jeremiah’s Loincloth: A Poem of Faith and Phallos (1), I have attempted to draw attention to an overly ignored biblical fact and its implications for a more “occult” or “magical” anthropology of the person. There exists what many systems call the aura or body electric and understanding concerning it does affect how we should read our bibles - like Ezekiel's out of body journey to Jerusalem. I have also pointed to implications of this for the understanding and management of sex and sexuality, something which in such as The Kosher Sutra Schmuley Boteach does more specifically for Jews. 

Even as a published author, even as a doctor of religious studies, and even as someone who lived many years and extensively travelled in Asia, I have usually been dismissed and ignored by good Christians if I have so much as tried to raise these issues and start conversations in groups, in magazines, anywhere. Publishing has been so closed to this line of thought I gave up on it and my above mentioned books have been indie issued.

Now that there is a book on the market from an (of course American) Episcopalian priest, a book so ultra-occult but also idolatrous it can describe and even promote visionary union with Hindu deities, there are Christians to rush out of the woodwork to compliment the priestly author. They declare his work a revolution in religion and theology, a basis of new interfaith, an advance in self realization etc etc.

No one points out that Durga with whom (after being lain upon by Ramakrishna and with Jesus looking on approvingly) Rev Reho has union so intense normal sex is like a handshake in comparison, is the goddess Kali herself. This figure is just about the most feared creature of the Hindu pantheon, the inspiration of some of the darkest, most deadly manifestations of Hinduism across time. The religion has, moreover, in recent years begun a new war upon Christianity in states like Orissa, physically attacking, even killing Christians at worship while police and the laws mostly ignore it. Tradition has it the apostle to India, Thomas, was himself martyred by the priests of Kali.

What Reho has done is equivalent to St Paul deciding against all and any evangelical imperatives to worship rather than reject the cult of Diana of the Ephesians or the early Christian martyrs deciding they would see truth after all in emperor worship. Reho represents the kind of thing early Christianity suspected and condemned in Gnosticism - much of this idolatry and peculiar rites masquerading as the truest initiated faith, a kind of confused, indulgent acceptance of most everything to the point of spiritual pollution. A rationale of its and certainly Reho's all-embracing claims belong with the old, via negativa “mystical” one. Because we can never fully, precisely know or describe God it follows that none of us have the complete truth either, hence other traditions, other gods, can help us and we can join with them.
 
The argument is as false and even absurd as maintaining because we can’t know everything about those nearest and dearest to us, we can’t really know them better than anyone else or at all. Yet the fact is we can - sufficiently - know them and we can and do name them. And in the Judaeo-Christian tradition one must name God aright; outside the revealed covenant name is the false, the illusionary, even the demonic. Boteach was of course right enough to insist as I would myself, that any recourse to something like Hindu/Buddhist techniques must divest them of their idolatrous associations.

Ignorant, disloyal Christians are the current plague of the churches in a time of crisis and persecution. The same kind of “Christians” like Matthew Fox who praise Reho’s revolution will also support Chrislam tendencies and make noisy protest for Muslim immigrants while they are shockingly silent on the chronic persecution of Christians in most Muslim majority countries. First things first is a principle simply not understood and adhered to. Christians are supposed to do good to all but first and especially the house of faith (Gal 6:10). This is not evidenced in current policies and attitudes which seek to be as globalist....as perhaps the one world of the Antichrist.

That reference is not gratuitous. Arguably there is a sign of the times element to Reho’s production. Heavenly signs and symbolism, the astrology which was good enough for the Magi of the gospel but not the mindset of American Christians whether conservative or liberal, is another aspect of Christianity’s “occult”, unexamined dimensions. And according to astrology we stand at the end of the same era, Pisces, that Christ’s birth may be said to have introduced. 

Accordingly and in harmony with known features of the fatal last degree of the sign Pisces, the end of era will produce not the revolution perceived in Reho’s theories but the meltdown,  confusion, pollution, muddy waters, decadence and black magic of endings. Tantric Jesus is not good news for anyone or anything at this time.

NOTE

1) All these titles are available on Amazon or from the Book Depository. The Jeremiah poem is at goo.gl/uDvOUE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AN ASTRONOMER SAYS THERE WAS NO BETHLEHEM STAR

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MATTHEWS ON MATTHEW: NO BETHLEHEM STAR

Just in time for Christmas, an astronomer and astrophysicist at Notre Dame University, Grant Matthews, is stating that Matthew’s narrative of Jesus birth got it wrong about the Star. He holds that it was a rare alignment of stars – among which was Saturn, symbol of the giving of life (a description of Saturn that would be news to astrologers modern and more ancient!). Aries, sign of the outgoing era and a bellicose sign with less natural affinity than some with Jesus’ character and role, is deemed important within this picture of 6 BC

I think the public should know that differing opinion in this area is increasingly liable to be censored by the Elite.  Before it got to the popular press  and the Daily Mail as here goo.gl/k1hyBZ  my informed response to the first news article https://goo.gl/ckWpon was removed from the site, yesterday 2nd December within a few hours. A doctor of religious studies, author and astrologer, I first  studied and understood basics of the solution to the Bethlehem Star Mystery thirty years ago, but in more recent times with further information I have come to regard the solution as complete and by now even irrefutable.

To combat this and other censorship I needn’t detail here but which must be told and known one day, I give the public the opportunity here to read what I believe is the truth being withheld and obscured from general knowledge. It is people’s right to know that there is a well-researched and indeed ultra-proven theory to the identity of the Star and a lot more than just that……

The blurb for my book, “Testament of the Magi” https://goo.gl/I28aCm  states… “Not just a star rose at Jesus’ birth….the wider range of information now available includes a whole micro-astrology of asteroids  for remote dates  and covers names, places and concepts…….It shows how one time, and one time only in history, would inscribe across the heavens the main situations, persons and beliefs that would feature in the Messiah’s life….The pattern is as distinct as a fingerprint…It has always been working and still works for Jesus issues [some example of this is given on this blog http://wp.me/p2v96G-ip ]….it is now possible to be certain of many things from the date of the crucifixion to whether or not Jesus married the Magdalene.

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Helping to prevent knowledge there  is  a  shameful “No room in the inn” situation in our increasingly godless society whose scientists can only be offended at the possibility of miraculous skies which as the Psalms indicate ”utter knowledge” (Ps 19:2); and it’s “no room at the inn” either among timid, conservative Christians who abominate the astrology they are supposed to understand and which is not the Torah forbidden study they maintain (unless they think the Essenes and the Talmudists got it wrong).

I am not surprised to hear that Matthews is writing a book to prove the star wasn’t a star and I don’t doubt it will be accepted and promoted by publishers in contrast to the sometimes hostile, dismissive, ironic responses I have received for presenting any Christ based theme at all. It’s the old story in which truth is passed over, ignored and despised.  Truth must and will however get out and as Christ said “the Stone which the builders rejected has become the head of the corner” (Matt 21:42).

This being the end of the era Christ’s birth introduced, I say without doubt or question that the mystery of the Magi  is finally uncovered. It should be recognized (and promoted) by the discerning for its truly historic and prophetic information.

 

 

 

 

 

QUAKES, GAYS and SOME ITALIAN ECCENTRICITY

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CENTRAL ITALY SUFFERING LIKE SODOM ?!

The recent quakes in central Italy, a quake prone area but suffering its most destructive tremors in thirty seven years, was promptly blamed on Italy’s recent legal toleration of gay unions by Fr Giovanni Cavalcoli.

The Vatican soon answered back in condemnation of such a charge – it dismissed the notion that God would punish in vengeance this way as “pagan”, pre-Christian and not part of the Church’s teaching .

Not to be cowed or outdone Fr Gionvanni, who believes all quakes are the result of human sin, riposted that the Vatican needed to read its own catechism (which disapproves homosexuality).

Not long before this a priest in Trento, Fr Gino Flaim, was suspended for the embarrassment caused the Church for apparently defending paedophilia on the radio, suggesting that it occurs because “children need affection”. It has therefore to be  accepted as a sin just as all other sins must be accepted (a quite common view among Italian clergy) but by contrast he is unsure about tolerating homosexuality because that is a “disease”.  It seems that right now one folly answers another in Italy.

ARGUMENTS BIBLICAL AND PAGAN

There’s a radical, eccentric Protestantism like that of the late Rev Ian Paisley which will attribute almost any evil to Rome and the Papacy. But if proof were needed that Catholicism really can be a blind guide, muddled and pagan to the point of being almost outside the Judaeo-Christian tradition itself, the above proves it and let’s be clear why.

1) For a start, it is unbiblical nonsense or biblical illiteracy to propose all notions of divine judgement are merely pagan or pre-Christian. The judgement idea is certainly – some would say notoriously – present in the Bible and not just in the Old Testament but also the New as in the book of Revelation which depicts the world after the times of grace. However, most essentially the Bible’s messages of wrath delivered by its Hebrew prophets, though sounding violent with the violence of their era, are not to the effect that God throws thunderbolts like Zeus. Their  message is that on account of persistent, serious evil a certain divine protection is withdrawn so that the demonic forces of chaos of a fallen world more fully take over.

This understanding is behind Jesus’ response to the question about those who died when the tower of Siloam fell (Luk 13:4). Jesus denies people there died because they were more sinful than others but that such destruction could happen to any and everyone if they failed to repent their sins. For Jesus all are basically condemned before God due to sin, (original and other) and thus in need of grace, a word of relatively little weight in Catholicism which stresses earning one’s way on earth and/or in a supposed purgatory.

Even so and popularly, it is of course  held that God judged Sodom and Gomorrah for “homosexuality” and Fr Cavalcoli echoes that tradition. But that is not what even the prophet Ezekiel declares was the case  – he saw rather pride, gluttony, indolence and ill treatment of the poor (Ezek 16:49) as the sin of Sodom. To the extent the non-biblical word “homosexuality” was involved in Sodom at all (and the men to whom Lot offered his daughters would surely be bisexual rapists in modern terms), their sin was desiring “other flesh“ (Jude 7) i.e. seeking to rape angels.

2). In making any claims of a would-be “prophetic” nature, clergy should be citing the Bible before the Catechism. But the extent to which Catholicism is not listening to, understanding or citing the Bible at all, is represented by the way it has treated its monstrous sex abuse scandals.

If the Church read the Bible it would know that while Jesus and the New Testament on such subjects as divorce and homosexuality can be and have been a matter for some degree of interpretation and debate, the abuse of children is non-negotiable. Jesus appears to consider it among the very worst of sins, something it would be better to be drowned in the depths of the sea than to commit (Luk 17:3). The idea that a priestly sex abuser be passed on to the next parish rather than be outright dismissed could only be countenanced in a milieu where the Bible is not assimilated and the whole notion of sin is taken very lightly and even common reality is not seen. A lot of paedophilia is not involved with childish desire for affection as Fr Flaim imagines but perverted adults’ desire to prey on the young, use and even terrify them.

A CONFUSED ITALIAN SPIRITUALITY

Italy and its Catholicism is still chained to a degree of refined paganism through Aristotle. His legacy via medieval philosophers still supplies a series of rationalizations of biblical teachings and ethics often so inappropriate and irrelevant they can only muddle and muddy the entire spiritual atmosphere to the point of  allowing it the sort of compromises which have left the nation victim to the mafia itself.

No matter precisely what one thinks and believes about gays and homosexuality, Fr Cavalcoli was wrong. A democratic society must tolerate its minorities and Italy was not wrong to grant gay unions. God won’t send quakes and in a historically known quake area besides for just that. Religiously and socially “marriage equality” (which Italy hasn’t passed) will always be more controversial because of various implications  especially as regards the adoption and rearing of offspring. Even notable gays, including in Italy Dolce and Gabbana and in Ireland the gay activist Ken Mills, have raised questions about this. It’s not a social change that can and should be argued from “equality” alone.

Although undeniably “marriage equality” raises questions for both Christians and gays, it is and will always remain a minority issue. It is nothing like as important as the massive corruption and mafia involvement in Italian life. These truly would constitute issues for the biblical prophets. While individual priests and even popes may now and again address this endemic problem, unfortunately Italian Catholicism is so entangled in the legacy of scholastic philosophy and a cult of saints that it looks set to continue along its muddled way now under the guidance of a well meaning but contradictory, eccentric Pope.

Pope Francis has so reduced his faith to a modern quasi-Marxist ritual of good works that, once again against all biblical basics and norms (which declare that without faith it is impossible to please God Heb 11:6), he has decided that good atheists and in effect everyone who does their bit of charity is bound for eternal bliss. This new, weak and confused Catholicism, plainly unable to face the Islamic challenge in any serious way, looks set to drag Italy down with it. It is a Christian virtue to forgive enemies, but the smiling Francis can’t even see who are the enemies to forgive in the first place. While Christians suffer genocide in parts of the world and Catholics like Aasia Bibi continue to languish in Pakistan’s jail for the “blasphemy” of daring to protest her Christian identity against bullies, Francis  will speak of “our Muslim brethren” like some kind of post-Christian globalist.

It is quite possible like Tobias Jones in The Dark Heart of Italy both to love and admire Italy and to be appalled at its corruption. I didn’t make a long article longer by speculating upon possible upcoming dangers for Italy, but I do think my unusual and revealing summary of Italian life and mind, including its religion (http://wp.me/p2v96G-OA) is and will prove well justified.

 

 

 

FIVE REASONS AMERICA’S EVANGELICALS ARE UNPOPULAR INSIDE AND OUTSIDE THE CHURCHES

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FIVE REASONS AMERICA’S EVANGELICALS ARE UNPOPULAR INSIDE AND OUTSIDE THE CHURCHES

I am not about to endorse Pope Francis’s radical suggestion that fundamentalism in any religion is a disease (some of the bible should be taken literally and some symbolically, it depends) and I am neither Catholic nor American. I am an Australian who hopefully has some outsider objectivity on something that’s more important for religion than might be supposed. Because unfortunately and despite its current (moderate) decline, to many around the world American Evangelicalism is still what American religion is, and even what Christianity itself is. Here are five aspects of Evangelicalism which are either false or unattractive to the young, to thinking persons of faith, or to those who may be left hurting from the effects of evangelical religion on their upbringing.

1).

To start with what’s most obvious, to almost anyone but the most convinced evangelical, it must seem  unreasonable and oppressive, even granting the Bible to be inspired,  to preach and justify every social policy on the notion scripture is  completely infallible and inerrant as though all of it dictated from heaven. The impossibility of the inerrant position is certified by statements like Ps 147:9 which declares “Happy shall they be who take your little ones and dash them against a rock”. Are we to believe this spontaneous, vengeful outburst was written under divine inspiration? Obviously not; the psalms are full of very human feelings as are St Paul’s epistles with their personal asides from the more doctrinal statements. While exclamations like that of Ps 147 are the exception rather than the rule, such are enough to remind us there is a culture-bound, historically influenced, human  dimension to scripture. This is true even of the New Testament where St Paul on divorce can say he thinks he has the spirit of God on the matter (1 Cor 7:40) which in a way is perhaps inspiration of another sort, an agnostic one, that might allow for the use of discrimination and having opinions in special cases. (Is no one divorced ever to be remarried?). As soon as extremes of infallibility are admitted and the Bible becomes one’s paper Pope, selective reading and casuistry follow as surely as night follows day. And one finds casuistry often enough among evangelicals or none of them would be divorced and their women would be silent and with covered heads in church. It is wiser and makes for more all-round integrity to claim a little less for the bible to let its true inspiration shine through. Also to let the Spirit speak as in “Hear what the Spirit says to the churches” (Rev 2:7) rather than to hear only what the Bible says to the churches.

2)

Exaggerated, knee jerk, easily offended patriotism that imagines America is “God’s country”, specially chosen and covenanted with “the American Dream” specially privileged. This is a position which often entails a lot of questionable mythologizing about the founding fathers of the republic who, unlike the Pilgrim Fathers, were more Deists and Free Masons than Christians. There is no need to deny that some Americans may have been specially chosen to spearhead various meaningful political and missionary movements that have touched the world; but if America is specially chosen, God would have to have made a strange choice. The America of history rather than myth is stained by a past in which native Americans have been exploited, abused and sometimes decimated while slavery, segregation and race hatred have thrived. Both trends have been too often supported by a selective, literalistic, conservative reading of the bible which falsely identified taking America with settling the Holy Land more than three thousand years ago under very different historical conditions and values. Amid concern to save souls or build churches, such issues have rarely been “prophetically” addressed by evangelicals, similarly to the money greedy legal system and the sometimes cruel related penal system – just recently prisoner Chelsea Manning was punished by solitary for having been depressed and attempted suicide.

America is, and has been long riddled with, not only unusually high levels of political corruption – wealth is almost essential to being in politics at all – but unacceptable, even exceptional levels of crime and violence never helped by conservative Christian attachment to the second amendment which sanctions the possession of fire arms. Those countries like Australia that ban guns prove the point that bans control crime. Why are followers of the mostly pacifist Jesus wanting to arm citizens? It is all part of an evangelical myopia and the kind of wrong thinking that gives Christianity a bad name in the world.

3)

The latter point leads to the next which is that implicit in Evangelicalism is a kind of supremacist, boss church politics that in modern times has manifested in certain attitudes and politics of the so-called Christian Right. Although belief in the gospel is preached as a choice, the reality is the believers frequently aim to impose their beliefs and/or the values derived from those beliefs, on everyone. Separation of church and state is paid lip service to but is scarcely believed in. No one has the right not to accept Christian values which should be established by everything from local laws to Supreme Court judges. In special cases where basic truth and justice is concerned, a matter I will touch on later, this may be appropriate. However, as a general rule it only dilutes and confuses the gospel to preach – in effect:- “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved…. or be subject to our rule and legislation in the here and now”.  Such is virtually the position of the high profile, noisy Franklin Graham, and it can leave Christianity uncomfortably like a kind of Islam with its would-be imposition of Sharia, or the system of an oppressive, church-supported Russian state whose Putin Graham has egregiously approved.

4)

Boss church Evangelicalism is suitably accompanied by another this-worldly assumption inherited from and enlarged upon from an early Calvinist legacy – that the good Christian should make their way in the world and be outright exemplars of “The American Dream”. They should be successful, not least and even especially in purely financial terms as this is supposed to certify divine grace and favour. For Calvin success certified  predestined election itself. Money is never far away from the evangelical mindset, yet nothing is further from the biblical standard represented by the mission of the Twelve (Mk 6:7-13). This company is to go out almost wholly unequipped: “take nothing except a staff…no bread, no bag, no money”; and though they are to give serious warning to those who refuse their message, there is no expectation of gain from the message whether accepted or refused, nothing apart from the welcome that travellers of the period might expect”. By contrast, there are elements within Evangelicalism today, especially its Prosperity Gospel wing, which reckons to arrive in private jets, roll up in limousines and have congregations paying for luxurious megachurches with cash that would better serve charities and overseas missions.

Logically and inevitably evangelicals have been identified and over-identified in politics with the Republican party. As it’s traditionally the party of the rich it’s a strange choice seeing the gospels do state “woe to you who are rich…” (Luk 6:24). Wealth, though not biblically despised, is more an incidental than an automatic, necessary blessing. But given their money friendly position, evangelicals have regarded anything less than adherence to full blown capitalism as “Communism” itself. One recent contributor to Charisma magazine invited to contribute advice to voters on the presidential race, opined that while Trump could be wrong on some things,  Hillary was 100% wrong including because she represents Socialism. And Socialism is nothing but “Communism without a gun”. Really? There’s Socialism and socialism. While one may object to much that Hillary Clinton stands for, it is not Socialism on her part but common justice of a sort recognized throughout most of the free West that, for example, higher education should be free. And it’s time Christians realized that its being free helps avoid known alternatives like students paying their fees through work in prostitution or the porn industry while the offspring of the rich indulge themselves at frat parties. Let us anyway be clear there are elements of socialism in the gospels (the parable of the vineyard workers Matt 20:1-16)). Quite simply, much by way of American evangelical politics is just eccentrically prejudiced and poorly informed.

5)

The same might be said about two difficult subjects which almost obscure the gospel itself whose declarations  in some circles can finish little removed from “Repent and believe and be against abortion and gay rights” because those who would presume to do otherwise are effectively murderers or abominations before God. These topics are almost beyond present scope and I don’t suggest that Christians can uncritically accept either “a woman’s right to choose” or the full blown secularist queer agenda, but there are some points to consider all the same. And if evangelicals had ever been more generous, democratic and realistic in the first place, they might not be on the horns of the dilemma where they now find themselves opposed by the extremer secularist legislations.

Re the Right-to-life obsession that evangelicals have largely borrowed from Catholics under ecumenism, biblically they will support it by especially God’s declaration he knew  Jeremiah before he was born (Jer 1:5). We may well ask at what stage of womb life was that, though  really the statement seems more like a declaration of knowing Jeremiah as more as  an idea or spirit even before conception. The fact is that even the church fathers were never agreed when the spirit entered the foetus  – it is  a modern and Catholic notion influenced by late declared Immaculate Conception doctrine, that life must be sacred and spiritual  from the instant of conception. The awkward fact remains that before modern medicine changed the picture, infant mortality could be up to one in four with death occurring at birth or in early years. If every foetus was so known and precious to God as  Jeremiah, why did God allow so much death according to an uncorrected “fallen”  nature, and will anyone then call God anti-life for allowing the situation? At any rate the OT is anything but manifestly pro life. Theoretically or actually (it’s hard to tell) death should be meted out as penalty for many misdeeds while a state of impurity should be avoided for many things. Is it not to impurify the womb for it to carry the fruit of rape, the sort of action for which the Torah would prescribe death? And if adulterers were to be executed, would that not entail the death of foetuses? The churches have rarely talked sense or charity on this issue – some church fathers extremely taught that a woman’s soul itself was lost with the infant’s life.

Clearly any blanket, absolute ban on abortion cannot be supported logically, humanely or biblically – the abuses and misery caused to women in a country of absolute ban like Catholic Chile where doctors dismiss the most ghastly health situations with “just pray”, is terrible to hear and unacceptable.   At the same time we have to affirm so too is any mere disregard for life – to abort for convenience, such as to further a career, is obviously something where a woman’s right to choose should not be allowed to apply. But since it is well known that the legal bans on abortion so often support backstreet illegal abortions anyway, the churches’ engagement with secular laws in this area is always going to be a difficult balancing act to be wise and just. Life must be protected but not infinitely so in an imperfect world, and one feels that those who so passionately appeal for life should be forced to adopt and devote their whole lives to what can be the soul-destroying labour of raising the extremely deformed and incapacitated. As it is, a lot of Right-to-life protest with its sloganism  is too often just a feel good, substitute gospel activity. Typical of its dubious nature, as I write this, tele-evangelist, Kenneth Copeland, himself guilty as hell for promoting a Prosperity Gospel that has perverted the life of the churches in Asia and South America, declares that those who refuse to vote in the presidential election: “…are going to be guilty of murder,” …. You’re going to be guilty of an abomination of God. You’re going to be guilty for every baby that’s aborted from this election forward.” What can one say to such arrant nonsense which is almost but not quite funny? Even if abortion-liberal Hillary becomes president, there is nothing to prevent independent protests against her values and rulings while in power. But Evangelicalism loves the sensational and this kind of inflammatory rhetoric will always grab headlines.

Similarly complex and also liable to hurt persons, especially the young to the point of suicide, is homosexuality. This is something evangelicals routinely and stubbornly dismiss as just a ”lifestyle”. The claim is misleading and far more is involved psychologically and spiritually than how straights see in  the human interactions of the gay bar or the exhibitions of some gay parades (both of these partly productions of the ghettos that until quite recently traditional religious prejudice in especially America favoured). Much could be said but here but as with “socialism” there is homosexuality and homosexuality. I shall limit myself to noting that the evangelical approach is much a matter of words and perspectives whose error is signalled by the way in which Evangelicals will state that God, or “God’s word”, condemns “homosexuality”, a term that doesn’t exist in the Bible. To some extent gay liberation, which originated in America, marked a reaction to a whole range of social discriminations and bullying that anyone a bit different, let alone gay, suffered in Christian America. In Texas police could enter your bedroom to insure you weren’t doing gay things. Until quite recently persons of all stripes could be abusively treated for not fitting within an American tribalism where the prevailing view of gender was little better than “Me Tarzan, you Jane”.

This was a society in which the Bible (and the Bible according to KJV translation alone!) determined what whole multitudes would think about “homosexuality”. A tendency to parochial, small town culture in America meant that few knew or absorbed just how much towering figures of western culture like Plato in philosophy, Michelangelo in art, Turing in science, had in fact been gay. Homosexuality whatever someone knew or just thought it meant, could never amount to more than “abomination” whatever in turn that signified; and that word was actually not what we mean in modern English (to Jews it meant something more like “idolatry”, heathen religious practices, by no means all sexual and not all regarded by Christians as wrong like eating shell fish or rabbit). The fanatical adherence to this kind of broadly generalizing but ungenerously narrow view of reality lingers on and is betrayed in the kind of statements from Franklin Graham in support – of all people – of Putin of Russia because of that president’s hard line (much exploited on the ground) against “homosexuality”. Some radical evangelicals have been active in opposing freedom for gays  – which in practical terms has meant they contribute to the actual harassment of gays –  in some African nations. I don’t write here in favour of secular legislative overwrites of all religious liberties; I even question laws which would impel Christians to contribute to gay ceremonies they don’t believe in – or else what happens to democracy? – but in the final analysis it is hard not to feel current evangelical problems with the laws are much self-inflicted, the end product of a long history of wrong thinking and injustice insufficiently examined or repented. Leading evangelicals and charismatics like Perry Stone can still get away with saying you are biblically illiterate if you don’t know and understand that Paul has said it all as regards “homosexuality” in Romans 1.  Well, St Paul  hasn’t and the real ignorance is to assume so. You might as well say the apostle’s vivid experiences on the high seas can tell us all we ever need to know about maritime  transport.

With that I can conclude these observations coloured by years of experience trying to deal with or even just contact and speak with American Evangelicals. If I were merely vengeful I could tell tales and name some familiar names, but I won’t. I will only say my impression is that some are little better than bullies and bar room brawlers, arrogant and dismissive in their behaviour as some cultists. In Gal 5:15, St Paul refers to Christians who bite and devour one another. Read material from an evangelical quarter – for example The Christian Post which is a good enough source for some general news – you might have the impression that too many Christians are doing just what the apostle referred to. There is a sort of free for all, a rush to tear down or criticize whatever has just been said in a kind of religious theatre of chaos. I am left unimpressed, and because the spiritual life of many is affected by this, rather troubled too. It’s not the business and not usually the fate of therighteous to be merely popular, but one doesn’t want to be unpopular because of behaviour within religion fit for the fools that St Paul said he didn’t gladly suffer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE INCREASING SILLINESS IN THE BILLY GRAHAM CLAN

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THE INCREASING SILLINESS IN THE BILLY  GRAHAM CLAN

According to a report in The Christian Post, the now elderly Billy Graham is advising Christians not to be discouraged or offended by pastors asking for money. In so many words perhaps they shouldn’t be, but it doesn’t sound as though in his advanced years the retired Graham senior is aware of the scandal being caused by the Prosperity Gospel teachings which are destroying lives and faith and bringing the church generally into disrepute in the world.
This oversight is mild and nothing in comparison with some of the embarrassingly eccentric notions proceeding from his offspring and which only get heard because of their revered father’s reputation.
I haven’t time to follow up half the wild things  Franklin Graham has been saying in recent times about “homosexuals” . They are  the Enemy one shouldn’t allow into homes and churches or near your children and that because they can’t have children they may steal them and so on.  Right wing Franklin is notoriously on record as having anachronistically praised Putin’s Russia for what is its internationally criticized, draconian treatment of the gay rights issue which has infected the mind of the nation spawning many abuses– any youth even looking effeminate is at risk of being beaten up on the streets by gangs who won’t be charged for their crimes.
The fact about gays is that most are not even notably inclined to either marriage or having children, their own or other people’s; but they do want a measure of acceptance and equality, the reason there has been a considerable push towards a marriage equality many will never personally put to use. But to suggest gays are child stealers, perhaps snatchers, frustrated around parenthood is crazy.
But now, and as though Franklin wasn’t enough, the daughter, Ann Lotz Graham is off on another tack. She believes God is judging and removing the divine pleasure from America and allowed 9/11 because of “the transgender silliness”. (UK Telegraph 14.5.2016). It’s not to question or deny that divine favour can be removed from a nation (or that there can be plenty of silliness around gender issues) to ask did mainstream America really even know much about transgenderism, sane or silly before Bruce Jenner transitioned last year and Obama made an issue about transgenders and bathrooms? Back in 2001 America was nearly wholly innocent of such things.
The Graham children remind one of a British figure of the sixties and seventies, Mary Whitehouse. She campaigned for things many people supported like getting sex off early evening TV, but unable to see the wood for the trees or perhaps just growing vain, eccentric or over confident in her authority, she proceeded to campaign against just anything like insisting the word “damn” should never be heard in media until people laughed at and ignored her.
Franklin especially and assisted by the authority of his father’s name, is fast becoming America’s Mrs Whitehouse, ready to rise to almost any and all occasions whether they or he are strictly relevant and whether he is informed in his judgements or not. It is painfully obvious he regards himself or would like to be regarded as a fearless Elijah against a corrupt world towards which he is prepared to be the martyr. But it won’t do.
People can see through it. The very effects he fears for America he increases as people turn away from Christianity disillusioned at sensationalism and gratuitous intolerance. Few would deny there are very major problems at stake for America in many directions. Even some gays have been questioning where PC ism and litigious attitudes are taking the country, some have even contributed to funds for Christians in trouble with gay intransigents.
But whatever is wrong one doesn’t take sledge hammers to crack nuts and/or mix your sermonizing with serious disinformation. If you increasingly do so, expect the negative reactions which emphatically do not help the Christianity you seek to defend and still less any kind of authentically “prophetic” warnings.

A POETIC RANT IN A SEASON OF ZIKA VIRUS

Abortion

The following quickly composed poem is not one about “freedom of choice” or “a woman’s right to choose” where abortion is concerned. It’s about common sense and basic justice which in this area a form of Christian idealism is undermining. It’s common error to suppose all Christians are opposed to abortion in all cases. For a start the Methodists  accept and in America the Southern Baptists accepted it before ecumenical cooperation brought evangelicals and charismatics under the influence of absolutist Catholic beliefs. Catholic views are however often more philosophical than strictly biblical/prophetic with the result that having declared against  abortion, capital punishment must be invariably wrong too – Pope Francis declares it a Christian duty to  oppose it always, everywhere – a position the bible could hardly be used to endorse.

A POETIC RANT IN A SEASON OF ZIKA VIRUS

True Believer

It’s Pope and Bible clear, don’t kill.
All life’s so sacred from the first to take
The breath from murderers and torturers
Can only multiply the sin. By faith I say
All being’s fully sacred from its start
Although I know there are miscarriages and
Still births everywhere. There always were
So that before new medicine cured, God let
Good mothers in their thousands die with
Foetuses concerning which church fathers
Wondered when the soul might enter in
To quicken what and who they were. Even so…

Conservative Evangelical

Quite right, agreed…
I’m evangelical American, accept the bible
At its word and since the prophet Jeremy
Said God had known him in the womb that means
He must know everyone who’s growing there.
So what have I to do with you who want
Relief, who say you’re traumatized by rape,
Or know that lifelong you must nurse a child
One born to suffer, hideous out of shape?
Begone foul murdering women who will bear
No cross and who in insolence would tell me
How my bible’s record is that God commanded
Life be taken, not preserved, for many a sin….. [1]

Traditional Catholic

…..Just as indeed in times gone past too many
Christians would be moved and in God’s name
To war and for its cause too many died.
Even so, have faith, do rest assured, we’ve changed
Your Catholic bishop that I am, speaks out
For law, for  reason and obedience.
Our mother Mary was immaculate, therefore
Do what she’d do which never is abort.
All life is sacred in its way even when not all
Immaculate. And since our blessed Pope holds
True that womb life is a sacred charge, it’s serves but
Logic to insist no criminal should lose his
Life. For are you not, as are we all, but sinners?

Layperson

Enough you babbling hypocrites – away!
You’ve said too much and far too loud and long
Declared  your  gospel substitute which is  [2]
Scarce more than rigid law that cannot treat
Of human need nor live or manage with
Exception. You have no right to cite
Your Lord who rules the punishment of sin
And death for it. You neither know your scripture’s
Spirit nor tradition, (itself quite changed
At your own will). Down with those banners
Unless you are prepared yourselves to nurse
The child of incest, rape and each child
Cursed with pain and great deformity.

Even at the worst (and granting true
That rarely can abortion make for good)
Still what is done is not the same as
What you call infanticide, does not compare
As you maintain with ancient Molech’s cult,
Which would receive direct into its angry fires
Live infants, not beings still within the womb.
How dare you cheat each term, make accusation
In this way in God’s own name. Learn to
Control your words, your vision and your
Abstract ramblings in the fields of faith,
Your talk self-righteous in “defence of life”
By which you only make belief more hard
And all believers more despised. Enough
And find more fitting reasons to be kind!

NOTES

[1} A scholarly/historical case can be made that the OT laws which demand capital punishment for many sins were not at their origins wholly or largely intended to be literally taken but were instead more symbolic or “utopian”. However…. to the extent one takes them literally at all, it is quite apparent that women charged with various sexual sins would have died with their infants in the womb. This in itself proves the foetus was never regarded as totally sacrosanct, indeed if anything the results of sin are usually seen as making impure and something to be cast out. A case for abortion in the situation of rape trauma – which the child may even inherit psychologically – would seem rather strong. Then too, if pre-natal life were so absolutely sacred, why would the deity permit so many deaths in childbirth prior to our times in which modern medicine alone permits the luxury of moral obsessions with preserving life  both before birth and at the end of life in the effectively brain dead.

[2] It has become apparent that for some members of the churches, anti-abortion campaigns have become their religious obsession and  raison d’etre, Practically what this means is a gospel is less preached than Imposed as a political/legal policy. Even the present Pope who is anti abortion has observed what is almost an over-emphasis on the subject leading to very unforgiving attitudes.  And of course as has often been said, there are limits to what anti-abortion campaigns can achieve. They only increase illegal abortions which often means much loss of life anyway. Sometimes it’s meaningful compromise is the holiest policy.

WHEN NOT TO BE A GOOD SAMARITAN

migrants

A QUESTION OF LIMITS

Are there occasions when people, especially Christians, are not called upon to be proverbial Good Samaritans, not founts of mercy? And why might our bibles, especially the OT (which admittedly for Christians belongs to another and older covenant), often demand the refusal of mercy.

There’s a poem I’ve had in mind which I now doubt I shall ever write because though it could carry its message at the level of feeling it would be hard to cover things sufficiently at the level of argument. The failure at the poetic level would be excusable, but I should want to be as fair as possible in the face of fact and complexity and also remain clear as possible given the barrage of criticism any original or non PC treatment of a theme can engender today.

Not that my approach and main facts supporting it would be entirely original – anyone wanting more of the facts can go to the writings of such as ex-Muslim Ayaan Hirsi Ali, British author and journalist Douglas Murray and articles of the Gatestone Institute which regularly reports news that especially Germany, Sweden and Britain don’t want people to hear and sometimes controversially suppress. Only the spiritual/theological perspectives would be more particular to myself.

LAMENTATION FOR EUROPE

The poem, a variation on the Lamentations of Jeremiah, would be about what I believe to be radically the case, an inconvenient truth not seen (or not admitted), namely the end of Europe as we know it  – Murray would speak of Europe’s “suicide” – something symbolized and partly triggered by the migrant crisis. The latter phenomenon, which both is and isn’t a genuine “migrant” crisis, involves far more than the PC political class and a by and large would-be generous public cares to recognize.

Poetry which transcends norms of expression offers an opportunity to question and rewrite reality. Sometimes its treatment is closer to those prophetic style perceptions of events which assume spiritual laws of life that post-Enlightenment rationalism and even religion won’t consider and have largely forgotten.

As with Lamentations this can include difficult concepts like the “wrath” or “jealousy” of God, expressions which don’t automatically mean quite what is popularly assumed. They are more metaphorical and bespeak rather a divine withdrawal from events which allows natural chaos to take over and the need for an exclusive attachment to the divine in order to hear anything from that source.

So, any poem in the style of Lamentations would speak to the more spiritual dimensions of the current crisis, but what might that mean? And how would the perspective differ from the rationalist Christian and/or secularist line in the West for whom events are simply a call to be  a  good Samaritans to suffering people (assuming, as is not always the case, that the migrants, usually male and some over fifty but claiming to be “unaccompanied children”, are authentic refugees, not opportunists seeking a new life and benefits).

GOOD SAMARITANS TO WHOM AND WHY?

The Good Samaritan is defined by Jesus’ parable of Luk 10:25-37 as a social outsider ( to Jews of Jesus’ time) who has mercy upon someone when  it would not be customary to have automatic interest in or sympathy with . The aided victim is a man who has been attacked by thieves and left for half dead – to that extent comparison could be made with tortured victims of President Assad’s regime which has suppressed opposition and reform – the president is largely responsible for the entire Syrian crisis. The parable implies almost anyone is a potential neighbour to everyone else and here comparison of gospel ethics with Islam’s  injunction  to terrorize and subjugate the outsider/infidel  wherever they are found (Sura 9:5) could hardly be greater. (Converts to Christianity from Islam are usually persuaded by the theme of forgiveness within the religion. The popularity of jihad  with  martyrdom in Islam  is due precisely to its being the only sure  way to secure divine acceptance and thus paradise ).

The person the Samaritan assists is helpless and in need of aid. This is not the same as someone, victim or otherwise, who does not consider outsiders to be any kind of world citizen but who still demands assistance from others as of right, which at least some migrants have done, demanding to be let in, passing barriers and protesting if they are not  allowed to enter  the rejecting society is criminal and doesn’t understand humanity – ironically an ideal they have at least partly learned from the West they often despise or oppose.

This situation with the attitudes it throws up is between strange and unprecedented. When nations suffer war and internal dysfunction, normally they fight and put up with it. Some populations like the Jews have fled specific persecution to more tolerant places but they have usually brought wanted skills with them rather than expected host nations to support them on the scale migrants often expect and indeed need when they require language and other training to cope.

The idea that war suffering and internal chaos gives the right to populations to migrate by the million is historically exceptional. It is something that perhaps more readily occurs to members of a highly political faith which believes in its ultimate right to universal rule and reducing resisting inhabitants to servant status, despised paying dhimmis,   and even the right to practice a degree of conquest by migration. That such is an established Islamic principle even an orthodox Muslim freely admits (see http://goo.gl/25QYXr. We may suppose the readiness of Turkey and the Gulf States to let Europe be swamped is not without the hope of furthering precisely expansion.

Does this mean that Christians have the right to ignore an influx of people desperate as at any rate some threatened Syrians are, but whose nonetheless alien beliefs and values could over time pose a threat to host lifestyles – an assumption not merely “racist”(as even the very pro-refugee Archbishop of Canterbury has insisted) but based on the kind of things preached in some immigrant circles and actions already observed to have occurred where migrants have recently settled.

No, we should not ignore….but in this instance assistance should be given with proper caution and safeguards. The Christian rule in this case would be closer to the NT dictum, “if your enemy hungers, feed him” (Rom 12:10). Enemy? Do Christians have them? Are they supposed to be looking for them and  regarding people as such? Are those refugees, some of whom really have lost everything and are hopeless, but who are not waging war and quite likely are peace loving, actual “enemies”? No…..but to be realistic, they do still cling to and represent a culture, faith, values and laws that have failed them and many more in modern times; and wherever Muslims are a majority their rulers from Sudan to Afghanistan  have proved relentlessly hostile and discriminatory towards Christians and other minorities. The mixture of corruption and persecution that is, for example, modern Pakistan is disturbing and within Britain where immigrants of that nation have  settled in great numbers, everything from archaic treatment of women to persecution of Christian converts has been reported.

SHARIAH

WHO ARE MY BROTHER AND SISTER?

No matter how worthy many individual Muslims may be, practically and politically regarded they cannot be simply called “our brothers and sisters” as a well-meaning, naive papacy is ready to call them. It’s the Christians, women and gays persecuted by Muslims who are our brothers and sisters. The Chinese classic The Art of War insists that one must understand the mind of the enemy to win any advantage,  something which if the West is not to founder or just suicide, it needs to do pronto. It is short-sighted, naïve and even  disloyal to the suffering of minorities in Islamic societies, to be anything but cautious and provisional in welcome.

Horror was inevitably expressed when the blustering, pot-stirring Donald Trump described Islam as having a hate problem, but something of the kind seems almost undeniable. It is notorious that Palestinians were dancing in glee at  9/11 and recent murders of Israelis can engender the same response. The hatred of some Muslims for Christians is so intense that Syrian and Iraqi Christians have been physically attacked and refused food and drink as impure untouchables even in refugee camps in Europe. Escaping refugees have thrown Christian refugees from their boat to drown them. Others are not so needy or friendly they have not thrown away offered food and drink https://goo.gl/E1lnGv

Only because the West is largely secular (despite the fact Muslims inaccurately call  Europeans “Crusaders”)  has it insufficiently cared and protested for persecuted Christians; but failing to care it also fails to read the writing on the wall for itself as constituting also “infidels” who later may receive no better treatment. The perverse secularism of Sweden has in the past sent Christians refugees from such as Iran back into certain persecution  http://goo.gl/ElxWYN while opening its arms to refugee Muslims by the thousands. Some of these refugees are now harassing women (including minors) and ordinary citizens to a degree press and politicians scarcely dare admit and have so far mostly tried to hide http://goo.gl/kBREej Multiculturalism and fears of being called “racist” have Swedish police and people in shackles unable to defend themselves in the face of persons who have no appreciation for the old adage “When in Rome, do as Rome does”.

This ungrateful or presuming guest response recalls another parable of Jesus to which I turn presently and whose message must be set against that of the Good Samaritan because of the way it addresses the  response to a compassion scorned.

THE ETHICS OF NO MERCY

The Old Testament has two attitudes towards the stranger/refugee: welcome provided they become part of the society observing its laws (Lev 24:22), or in the case of peoples like Moabites and Amorites who have distinctly opposed Israel or whose beliefs are so perverse they would contaminate, simple extinction. Deut 7: 2-7 is summary of the general principle and style and can be quoted:

And when the Lord your God gives them over to you and you defeat them, , then you must utterly destroy them. Make no covenant with them and show them no mercy. Do not intermarry with them, ….for that would turn away your children from following me….break down their altars, smash their pillars, hew down their sacred poles….”.  

The ruthlessness of this has understandably troubled and bewildered Christian readers of the age of Pisces looking back to the blood and iron of the age of super-patriarchal Aries, bolstered as this was by customs of the some of which still survive into our times, like the kind of honour killings now and again surfacing among peoples of the Middle East, not to say the radical ethnic and cultural cleansing of IS. Even in that earlier age Israel itself hesitated to be so absolute, though it was later seen as a cause of their vulnerability in many ways especially its idolatries.

It is perhaps only in the face of the intransigence and ruthlessness we see in IS and which seems almost a speciality of the Middle East,(Hitler and Nazism despite –  Hitler was inspired by the still denied Ottoman genocide of the Christian Armenians!), it makes a little more sense.

It would obviously be wrong in this era and for Christians to annihilate enemies (just this has been the crime of Orthodox Serbs upon the Muslims of Bosnia from fear of what Islam means and has done in Eastern Europe), but in any age or clime, aggressive intransigence may need to be dismissed or ignored or somehow quarantined so that any kind of peace and order can flourish.

If beyond a certain point people and societies value vengeance and make children imbibe it with their mother’s milk, then this leads to total paralysis on the moral plain. We see something of the kind in the (again minimally reported) policies and attitudes of Palestinians today. Given millions to rebuild their society the money gets poured instead into building more tunnels into Israel because the real desire is not a good and safe life but vengeance upon the nation for existing at all with the desire, freely expressed everywhere from media to classroom, to have those supposedly descended from pigs and monkeys, destroyed before Judgement day.  Likewise  Iran openly declares and plans for the total annihilation of Israel as its aim – it recently launched missiles with notices attached declaring the need to destroy all Jews. The easy going West conveniently ignores and doesn’t believe it (after all trade is involved!) but why not?

Let us speculate and try to imagine. If God is love (Islam never says this, only that Allah is “merciful”) and represents certain absolutes that need to be established for the general good but cannot be so because those values are threatened by persons so committed to hatred after the manner of violent tribes as depicted in the OT, then in the interests of progress a case can perhaps be made for a new beginning. This is achieved not by reconciliation when none is possible, but by annihilation. With certain root principles established and the spirit of the age different Christians cannot possibly think this way, but in other times and places……?

I can now turn to that other parable that differs from the Good Samaritan, namely the parable of the unforgiving servant (Matt 18: 23-35). A king demands owed payments from persons who cannot repay. One of them risks losing family and everything. Upon appeal the king forgives the servant his debt. The servant goes straight out and starts bullying a fellow slave who owes him far less than he himself had owed. The victim’s fellow slaves report him to the ruler. The parable ends,

“Then his lord summoned him and said to him ‘You wicked slave! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. Should you not have had mercy on your fellow slave, as I had mercy on you?’ And in anger his lord handed him over to be tortured until he would pay his entire debt. So my heavenly Father will also do to everyone one of you, if you do not forgive your brother or sister from your heart”.

With this in mind, finally we may turn to a few poetic/prophetic parallels to our times.

PROPHETIC VERDICTS?

SHARIAH 2

In one of my poems I observed

Religion knows no vacuum
Nor end of tides, its nature
Is it will return to fill the empty
Rock pools of the secular sands….  (Beyond Dover Beach)

Quite simply society does not get rid of God by denial, indifference or forgetting. The God issue returns, if need be in another form; and if God is not the friend, God becomes however reluctantly the enemy. The rejected, uninvoked God withdraws protection in a way which makes him as though the enemy itself. “He has taken away the covering (protection) of Israel” says Isaiah (Is 22: 8) with the result as chaos mounts “I am laying before this people stumbling blocks against which they shall stumble” (Jer 6:21).

The situation and attitude of Europe today is painfully similar to that of Judah before its fall to enemies – decadent and complacent, assured that no evil will come (Jer 5:12) “no evil shall come upon us/and we shall not see sword or famine”, declaring “peace, peace and there is no peace” (Jer 6:14). It’s the reckless even arrogant spirit of Angela Merkel’s wir schaffen es   (we’ll deal with it). Yet, says the prophet, those will come who “will eat up your harvest and your bread” (Jer 5:17). Do we need to spell it out that the migrant crisis is so large it is likely to wreck the economies of Europe, especially proudly wealthy Germany as increasingly the tax payer must fund those who arrive?

“The mills of God grind slowly but they grind exceeding fine”. It’s not a biblical saying but it might as well be so. Germany who in the last century was an exponent of racial purity and a persecutor of Jews, (which last is declared to invoke the curse of God , Gen 12:3) finally is held to ransom by what promises to be a virtual end of any kind of racial purity and ongoing wealth. The sins of the fathers stand to be visited on the children. Though not themselves Nazi bigots, those children might as well be atheists as regards any spirituality, mistaught in Christianity as they are by the likes of Bultmann popularizer and author Uta Ranke-Heinemann whose Putting Away Childish Things, is in many respects an insult and mockery to everything divine. Where the theologians are concerned it’s a case of “they have spoken falsely” (told lies) about the Lord” (Jer 5:13).

An oracle against Sweden could rather easily be composed in view of what has happened and is likely to happen to that bastion of secularism and “liberalism” where some citizens are now paying for private protection because they can no longer trust their police to guard them against migrant thefts and assaults and attacks on their homes – most of which you will never have heard of because the political class can’t admit to the rank failure of its almost totalitarian multicultural policies and plays the old “racist” card to critics. Swedes are abandoning the swimming pools because of the dangers of being there.

Sweden is the country where God is scarcely mentioned unless as something embarrassing and the lesbian bishop of Stockholm removes crosses from her church lest Muslims not feel welcome in her country (whose flag has a cross). Sweden almost invented modern permissiveness and pioneered in postmodern treatments of sex and gender so blatant they would have children no longer referred to as “he” and “she”. The nation is far beyond any justifiable modern reforms in favour of women and gays. Ever since films like I am Curious Yellow in the sixties Sweden has been banishing any concepts of sacred from life, sex and marriage which last is almost the exception and not the rule in the country. The sudden reversal of the nation’s fortunate situation inevitably rather recalls words like:

And if you say in your heart
“Why have these things come upon me?”
It is for the greatness of your iniquity
That your skirts are lifted high
And you are violated…..
This is your lot….because
You have forgotten me and believed in lies. (Jer 13:22,28).

Whether or not one feels there is a connection here, I can only say that when I read a year or so ago that liberal Sweden, so ready to assimilate almost anyone or anything had turned away desperate Iranian Christian asylum seekers, something registered with me. I felt a line in hypocrisy and injustice by the “liberal” nation  had been crossed and the country would pay for it. God is patient, but not infinitely and establishment Sweden has gone far enough with its lies and hypocrisy.  I didn’t however suspect the reversal would arrive quite so fast and strong.

If we were to look at the rest of Europe for a rewriting of oracles against or lamentations over nations it’s interesting to note that the countries which the migration crisis has hit most hard, Britain, Germany, Sweden and France , are not simply those nations that have most appeal for the fleeing multitudes on account of wealth and lifestyle, but they are the nations most obviously alienated from God. It is they who have been most prone to export their unbelief – France has been doing it since the so-called Enlightenment. Few have pointed out just how radical in its contempt of the sacred Charlie Hebdo was – what it threw at Islam was mild in comparison with its blasphemies of Christianity – while those who died at the Bataclan theatre did so when a song welcoming the devil started up. We have to consider with the prophets it really is possible to lose divine protection. France is also an offender in its perennial dismissiveness ands coldness of its social attitudes which by making its immigrants feeling unwanted builds up resentments which foster extremist views. France is simply a thoroughly unchristian country in more ways than one;  even the era of its religion held much that was objectionable.

If Europe does not care to accept the Christian God, then they and their children in the schools (where as in Britain it has just been ruled early Islamic history will be taught before even 1066 and the British history that becomes optional), it will find itself ever more subject to the Muslim God and laws of Sharia. (Migrant population alone in the face of relative European infertility will make for rapid change while democracy, if not defended and respected, will just cave into an insistence upon Sharia inroads)). It will be a case of  “Ah Assyria, the rod of my anger” ( Is. 10.5) .  And despite some wishful interfaith thinking, Allah cannot be readily and automatically identified George Bush style with the Judaeo-Christian deity; there is too much contradiction between statements and claims of the different scriptures for that. If the Pope thinks otherwise and kisses the Koran (has he read it?) that is part of the confusion of the times and could even belong with long standing prophecy which would make the current Pope the last of the Christian era.

 

 

BRITISH DEMOCRACY: A POEM

  Democracy

 BRITISH DEMOCRACY: A POEM

Now reigns democracy of the godless sort
The new half blind, eccentric British kind
Devoid of logic and true sense of right
But owing something to the bullying mind.

In Pakistan the Christian poor are beaten
To a pulp [1] and elsewhere IS kills or drives
The kaffir out of house, but still, just PC
Or plain cowardly, the democrat connives.

Yet not with change of faith at home,
Judged work for rebels prone to agitate;
Best to ban Godtalk, crosses, prayers,
On pain of work loss or a charge of hate. [2]

From Polly T to Dawkins, secularists [3]
Make and ignore the wrong – they’ve had their way.
As silencing religious life suits well
They seize an advantage while they may.

Though from internal and external strife
Round faith was birthed much human liberty,
If atheist and theocrat oppose
The cross, lost freedom looms as destiny.[4]

Given naive thought and lack of vigilance
The Trojan Horses pass through open gates.
The night of era’s end begins to fall
A fate is sealed, the greater darkness waits. [5]

Souls cynical of things divine, disloyal,
Ungrateful to the past, in unbelief
Have yet to learn what are the effects of
God withdrawn, the no protection or relief.

NOTES

1] Pakistan’s political corruption and its persecution of minorities, especially Christian, is a byword, but specific reference here is to the outrage of a recent event in which Christians were extremely beaten by police. See Christian Post report http://goo.gl/9ZFzMD.

2] The case of NHS therapist, Victoria Wastney influencing this poem, involves a person stood down from work and put to a tribunal for having discussed Christianity with a Muslim and/or invited her to church. The Muslim woman had taken offence – calling it “bullying”!….As if… Under current British laws and attitudes which today tolerate wearing of hijabs before crosses, no “fair” tribunal will be bothering to remind the plaintiff that Christians are little other than bullied or discriminated against in most Muslim majority lands, refused all rights of worship in Saudi. The same day I wrote this poem it happened that Muslims fleeing Libya threw 12 Christians overboard to their death (at first some sources like Reuters couldn’t  even bring themselves to admit the inconvenient fact). The liberal West and  Marxists explaining everything by socio-economic conditions, or justifying anything as liberationist uprising,  fail to understand purely religious convictions and allegiences. Where Muslims enjoy power, hatred of Christians and Jews can be unbridled. Even the so-called rise of anti-Semitism in Europe is  mostly a Muslim import. Ironically it’s possible the “bullied” British Muslim took alarm at the thought of conversion as her faith requires death or at least total ostracizing of converts, but as ex-Muslim Ayaan Hirsi has insisted, Muslims need to reconsider the basis of their faith today. It’s hardly a hate crime if Christians in a traditionally Christian society politely suggested as much.  As the British should know, mission is even an obligation of Christianity (Matt 28:19), a religious right that Islam undemocratically denies and suppresses everywhere while demanding full rights for itself wherever it travels. Yet stress this and what Nobel prize winner Vargas Llosa recently described as an “apathetic and sceptical West” where Islam is concerned, is liable to dismiss  the problem. it will be “generous” at home at the expense of the many who suffer abroad.

3] Polly T is Polly Toynbee, President of the British Humanist Assocation, (but echoing here “Polly put the kettle on we’’ll all drink Tea”). Dawkins is vocal atheist, Richard Dawkins. Secularist agitation towards exclusion of teaching or expression of faith has come to a point reports show Christians are half fearful to admit or discuss their faith. (See http://goo.gl/iJ7jtJ).    Ultimately secularists cut off the nose to spite the face failing to realize how opposed to democracy many religions especially Islam (which means and demands Submission) can in fact be. It is unhelpful if the higher degree of infidel status represented by atheism seeks to silence the theists.

[4]  British democracy owes much to the struggle of religious dissenters with the religious establishment and democracy generally owes quite as much to Judaeo-Christian values as Greek democracy.  “Human rights” is an outgrowth of the concept of freedom of worship and conscience.  Western liberal thought largely fails to realize that, practically and often, the Muslim is a theocrat with either no sympathy for democracy and separation of church and state style beliefs, or sympathetic but with little or no scriptural basis to support it (Islam  means primarily submission and even peace is what ensues when Sharia law is imposes submission). It’s a situation which renders integration to the West difficult.

[5] Since my Beyond Dover Beach I have been stressing an end of era theme. We are presently at the end of the age of Pisces much associated with faith and Christianity.

The following article about persecution  http://goo.gl/T2Pcrg
is relevant to the blindness and folly of British and more generally Western treatment of the whole emerging religion problem

 

 

LIFE, DEATH (Ha Ha) and CLIVE JAMES

CJAMES1

TALKING ABOUT DEATH FOR TODAY

It is not customary to talk about death today. Australia’s own public intellectual, essayist, novelist, TV personality and poet, “the boy from Kogarah” Clive James, has nonetheless been prepared to talk about terminal illness and death in recent press and TV interviews. Also in his already much discussed Sentenced to Life,  a poetry anthology to be published on April 9th. James rightly maintains the death theme is universal – everyone will die! – and poetry is a good place to air the subject. The poet  himself is clinging to life, lingering and longer than he and anyone has ever expected with leukaemia (first diagnosed five years ago) and emphysema. His blood is changed every few weeks in Cambridge from where he regrets he can never again leave for Australia except as the ashes he wants distributed at Sydney Harbour.

The way that (outside of his quite accomplished poetry) James treats of death for the public benefit is nonetheless a very modern, new styled, new atheist one. Retaining his proverbial quasi-Oscar Wildean wit, Australia’s sage jokes about his condition and his obit and the fate of his ashes. Outside of literary production James is prepared to regard any marked concern with death as self-indulgence and says he’s too occupied with following Game of Thrones on TV and summoning energy for his own writing to be thinking about it.  It’s anyway a waste of time amid the useful clarity approaching endings bring, because there’s only the void, no heaven or hell to contemplate and “God has no leg to stand on”. He is thankful for life but he won’t say “blessed” in case there is any suggestion of God in the matter.

Everyone is entitled to their beliefs, but it could be argued that beyond the wit and laughter James is, along with the likes of Christopher Hitchens and Terry Pratchett, another poster boy cum humanist martyr on the path towards  a new trivializing of death and the big questions which are increasingly getting reduced to the sound-byte even if and when a few poems like Event Horizon may expend the effort to be solemn about the single fact that we are going absolutely nowhere. See http://www.clivejames.com/poetry/recent/event

BEYOND THE EVENT HORIZON WHAT THE HORSCOPE SHOWS ABOUT CLIVE JAMES AND LAST THINGS

A few things about James’ birth data (see below and click to enlarge) are striking for the kind of role he is playing and the beliefs he is purveying.

If we can assume the birth time is quite correct (the chart is derived from Astrodienst’s normally reliable Astrobank data) , it is fascinating to note that the base of chart degree, much associated with endings, is on the potentially fame and world connecting degree of 29 Leo, a fire sign. James’ ending  thus appropriately becomes a matter for international discussion and it is expected to be a fiery cremated one besides. That James will think and write about death is encouraged by the third house (writing) moon in out of sign conjunction with Pluto (creation/destruction). But the actual  joking about his decease appear linked to the precise aspect to the base of chart degree of the moon in Cancer at 29 degrees. Though James has some of the wit of Oscar Wilde with whom he shares an urbane Libran sun, looney laughs and laugh-to-cry has something to do with moon ruled, moony looney Cancer. Laugh to and at the last…

….Whether one should or not is another matter. The fact that shocking Uranus conjuncts Theotes (Divinity/God) makes for some very upfront (first house) shocking dismissal and profanity in that area if (on the basis that conjunctions are very for or against something) it wouldn’t make for great spirituality since at its highest Uranus is the symbol of the Spirit. Actually, something of James’ attitude towards deity is likely to be due to his status as an only child who early on lost his father. To the extent father figures are liable to merge with deity images this would encourage dismissal. God seems absent and/or irrelevant. In the ninth house of beliefs and religion, assertive, aggressive Mars in quirky Aquarius makes aspect – just – to the natal Sun whose general weakness in terms of aspect also bespeaks a father lack that could affect the spiritual outlook and almost certainly has done so.

James has clung on to life and surprised himself and everyone by, as he claims, already dying once (even several times almost) and coming back. Where is this shown on the chart? Despite being barely aspected, the sun as this would affect life and health is strong in its natural house, the fifth, and on what’s called a critical degree, 13 Libra. The clincher may however be that this sun is conjunct Anastasia (Resurrection). This person returns to life and, in the way conjunctions are very for or against something, James can return to life at the same time as he rejects all more spiritual notions of afterlife. It also helps for resilience, and absolutely too for being as “lucky” as James admits to be  in terms of worldly success and fame, that his Jupiter exactly trines his Pluto. Positive Jupiter/Pluto aspects have been traced by astrologers as almost the main requisite for success if one can judge by the lists in Who’s Who. 

The disposition to disbelieve in heaven and hell alike seems reflected by the way Jupiter (one’s faith and beliefs) square (i.e. afflict) the Hell asteroid while Paradise is not positively placed at 15 Leo. This is one of the six  so-called world points, but deemed the most unfortunate of them, in short in a position not reflecting or generating optimistic thought. It is nonetheless still the degree of Dante, whom James has painstakingly and rather originally as regards the treatment of rhyme translated. Ironically heaven and hell and last things are quite James’ proper subject and when the wit is forgotten the poetry is less likely to be so. And indeed James seems particularly keen to be recognized and remembered as a poet. Poesia oddly and unusually falls in the eighth sector of death and mysteries as does the name James which directly aspects the Midheaven of career, destiny, reputation. This is an aspect  involved with the fact of being well known and the likelihood of then being almost best known for anything to do with death….No joking!

Even James doesn’t expect to have much time now. April’s lunar eclipse falls conjuncts his sun (ruler of his fourth of endings) and lunar as opposed to solar eclipses are thought to demonstrate their relevance within 6 months of when they hit. But with Anastasia on the sun, who knows?

And indeed who knows about the beyond….intimately anyway? I have not myself visited heaven or hell but in my The Hell Passage: Inferno Cantos for Today, (see http://bit.ly/11dQkzS) I evoke and attempt some degree of critical assessment (both within the poem and in notes) of an alleged experience of the Beyond by several people. For reasons given I believe they must have experienced something of the sort, even if some details could reflect memory and cultural contamination. Ex-atheist Howard Storm who in My Descent into Death claims to have visited hell, commended the poem and hoped that many would read it….Last weekend I tweeted around 12 people either promoting or appreciating James’ views saying one shouldn’t be too sure of the void and suggesting they might care to look at my poem. Only one, but favourably, did so.

You, the reader of this article, can however go to the relevant material and pass it on if you believe, as I do and Clive James doesn’t, that final things are worth pondering and not to be fashionably trivialized.  (Influenced by the time I was once hospitalized in Melbourne, you might also like to read and share the poem Hadrian’s Question: A Poem of Life and Death  (at http://wp.me/p2v96G-kj ). Meanwhile and whatever, a happy feast of the Resurrection.

 

Clive James    click the figure to enlarge

WHY PRINCE CHARLES’ APPEAL TO MUSLIMS WON’T BE HEARD

CHARLES

WHY PRINCE CHARLES’ APPEAL TO MUSLIMS WON’T BE HEARD

….Or perhaps I mean heard but not acted upon. The Prince wants Muslim leaders for the sake of everyone to acknowledge and raise a voice, rather than remain (as they mostly and usually do) silent in the face of the persecution of minorities, especially Christians. ow.ly/DOU1C

More than one report has recently defined Christians as the most persecuted group in the world and the Prince correctly notes Muslim societies are over-represented in the tally of those nations which demonstrate discrimination and intolerance. (North Korea is worst).

You wouldn’t necessarily think such was the case from, for example, media reports. Here in Australia, (perhaps because its international TV news relies so heavily upon Al Jazeera as a source), we heard almost more about the small Yezidi minority than the many thousands of Christian suffering in Iraq. The UN provided shelter for them before any Christians for whom Christian aid agencies have been sending out desperate pleas.

The rights and safety of Christians are almost an afterthought for most western leaders and especially America’s President Obama who rarely speaks for them unless under massive pressure at home and he has almost rushed in to stress nobody is suffering more under IS than Muslims, which is not strictly true. Even if it were true, it is hardly something to propose so breezily when Christians are being raped, tortured and their children forced into marriages or sold as sex slaves. As  Majid Rafizadeh, president of Harvard’s International American Council of the Middle East has just said, “It is confounding to ponder why the mainstream media, President Barack Obama, and many other liberal political figures still remain silent about the increasing persecution of Christians in Islamic countries”. 

Only this last week there has been yet another horrific act of persecution against Christians in Pakistan, a regularly serious and gross offender in this area, though not even sweet Poster Child Nobel prize winning liberty advocate Malala will be telling you quite how much. She is brave and says good things but of the kind the West wants to hear, namely about the safety of women, not of religious beliefs.  A poor Christian couple, the wife pregnant, was battered and burned to death at the kiln where they were indentured labourers by a hysterical mob of over a thousand, screaming for their blood ( ow.ly/DShXH). This was because a rumour had gone out that the couple had thrown out pages of a Koran when the wife had been clearing their home following the recent death of her mother. Pakistan’s ever controversial anti-blasphemy laws themselves finish a kind of blasphemy against life, truth and justice as they allow any rumour to be floated but no charges to be laid against those falsely launching them or victim to ubiquitous vigilante violence. Pakistan, as some of its own leaders admit, is a deeply corrupt society. It looks as though it prefers pious persecution on almost any pretext to true reform.

SILENCE AS CHARITY

What the Christian and liberal standpoint of the Prince and others might however be said to overlook is that silence itself, a refusal to approve what is going on in Iraq and elsewhere, is the charity and almost necessarily so given that there is nothing in the Koran that would notably encourage anyone to support minorities which are all liable to be deemed infidels. While it may be that the stronger controversial statements against Jews and Christians owe more to the Hadith (a collection of alleged sayings of Mohammed and his associates rather than the Koran itself), even so, it is stated in the Koran that Muslims should not be friends of infidels (3:28).

True and famously, there are numbers of verses which enjoin a respect and friendship of sorts for “people of the Book” (Jewish/Christian bible), but the problem, the loophole for fundamentalist extremism, is that what the people of the same Book assert, such as in the case of the Christians that they identify the Messiah with God, is denied and condemned (5:17) rendering them with the infidels in effect. It is also affirmed that Christians mostly do evil anyway (5:66)!

Ultimately, how could the average Muslim oppose on the behalf of dissidents what other Muslims are doing that spreads or defends the faith without before long being accused of apostasy and being ostracized? Those Muslims like the Grand Mufti of Syria who do believe in and advocate peace with toleration of non Muslims, have received great abuse from fellow Muslims – there have been death threats to himself and his sons. Conversion out (apostasy) is not permitted in the religion, and theoretically carries a death penalty.

Somali scholar Abdisaid Abdi Ismail’s recent book, The Rule of Apostasy In Islam: Is it True? has already occasioned him the rage of Muslims, death threats, separation from his family and he has been thrown out of hotels in Kenya and Uganda, a situation in extreme ironic contrast to the freedom and sometimes star treatment accorded such as the tiresomely impudent returned Muslim, Reza Aslan, who in America and the liberal West is free to criticize the gospels and Christianity in any publication he likes. The greatest charity Islam can show the infidel or convert is to let them, like Meriam Ibrahim earlier this year in South Sudan, leave the country, (be exiled). And as in the case of Pastors Saaed and Irani in highly intolerant Iran (whose conditions the Iran born Aslan never seems to protest), that may not happen. Or it won’t happen while a weak, temporizing,  quasi Muslim Obama exerts no strong pressures to get even imprisoned and tortured American citizens who are Christian out of the country.

IS  AS THE “TRUE” WARRIORS

Recently IS, no matter how much Muslims and others care to state they are not representative of “true” Islam, have been attempting to drive out and sometimes wipe out Christians from Iraq and Syria. They are given the options of conversion, paying religious tax (jizya), exile or execution. Interpretation and translation of scriptures are of course always hotly debated, but plainly IS feels they are doing what they do on a basis at least partly justified by such verses “slay all the unbelievers wherever you find them” 2:91 – which is only what Ottoman Turks did to half the population of Christian Armenia in 1915 in an act that inspired Hitler’s Final Solution. (That Turkey has never subsequently regretted this in the way wars usually are, is probably due to the belief  its behavior was religiously sanctioned). 5:33 rules to maim or crucify or banish those who make “war against God” or who “spread disorder” in their country.

Not that the minorities of Iraqi Christians and others like Yezidis and Mandaeans have been doing that. IS is exceeding its remit in this respect like the Ottomans before them, but even to say anything in favour of one’s alternative faith, especially to proselytize is dangerous. Indeed the latter is absolutely forbidden in most Muslim societies (it would in itself almost certainly be treated as “spreading disorder”). This is a situation which nevertheless and practically, is to deny normally accepted religious rights (not to say the human rights to “free speech” of Christians) extremely. The day when Christianity can be even described in Muslim countries by Christians themselves will be the day something like human rights might be said to exist there.

Christ’s disciples were told as almost his last words to them, to preach the word in the whole world. So a non-missionary church is scarcely a true church, certainly not any free one. Just recently an Egyptian Copt, one of a group of people in existence long before Islam, was sentenced to 6 years prison for merely “Liking” a Facebook page about a group of former Muslims. Even his Christian village was attacked by outraged Muslim fanatics. http://goo.gl/YRdWyN. In Saudi even private worship is banned to non Muslims, presumably because since the Koran describes infidels as impure and perverse (9:30 ) the very earth is polluted by their presence in Islam’s most sacred territory!

Plainly there is little scope for negotiation here! Under IS minorities generally have been targeted, including even Muslim ones, but as said, overall it is Christians who recently have borne the brunt of recent troubles while receiving least sympathy and attention for it – Prince Charles moreover stresses that the situation is particularly bad because Christianity is now being erased from its 2000 year homeland, a major tragedy in itself. (One might add that also tragic is that the Palestinians, for whom sympathy seems boundless in the liberal West, have been doing everything possible to rid even Bethlehem and Nazareth of Christians. And the West is naïve enough not to imagine or perceive that at least some Palestinians intend no peace whatsoever towards Israel (hear what they teach in their schools and broadcast on their radios!) but will agree to any division of the land, any new situation that facilitates the longer term aim of being rid of an Israel they don’t acknowledge can and should exist). Peace may be spoken of, but the West is blithely ignorant of how by the principle of takkiya, truth in dealings with infidels is not required so that the best sounding agreements and promises may mean nothing.

MEDIA AND WESTERN MYOPIA

Prince Charles’ statement comes as a spanner thrown in the works of modern media which despite the current extent of exile and genocide for Christians in the Middle East is seriously under-emphasized by a secular and sometimes almost anti-Christian media which is concerned, perhaps selfishly, in keeping things quiet at home and shoring up liberal multicultural values at all costs by never asking or expecting Muslims like the Prince to face a few basic facts.

The facts are admittedly sometimes grave and bewildering for especially the more moderate Muslims some of them left reeling under the shock of offspring radicalized and disappeared, apparently for ever, to fight with IS. What perhaps for the first time they are being forced to absorb, is that essentially the faith they subscribe to is involved with the aim of a world domination achieved if necessary through force. The very appeal of IS is that it seems to be fulfilling that aim and that it is even engaging the last and apocalyptic war which will arise through Syria.

And although some will protest the Koran should be read more symbolically and allegorically, in most places where Islam is well established it is not and has not been so. So if there are indications that (some if not all) Jews are the children of apes (7.166) and according to the Hadith (Sayings) they are to be wiped out before the Last Judgement, all sorts of negative policies get justified. Meanwhile the Christians/infidels are to be subdued, tolerated if they pay taxes and show themselves submissive (9:29) because Islam is all about, indeed means “submission”.

There is a reason that Christians are the poor, mostly servants and road sweepers despised and exploited in Muslim nations like Pakistan and Eygpt, not able to rebuild churches, rarely able to get justice at law for the worst crimes against them. The discrimination is as good as mandated and is hardly ever challenged. Christians exist to be made dhimmis in a state of dhimmitude.  It is also hardly ever challenged either by a once Christian West which in its post Christian weakness (decadence) pours aid into the most relentlessly persecuting societies like Iran and Afghanistan for whom privately the aid is doubtless regarded as the jizya tax that infidels, whose day of reckoning awaits, ought to be handing over and therefore no more than is due. It is not perceived as any kind of charity for which to be grateful. Every concession liberals and interfaith Christians make, is liable not to be appreciated as tolerance but a step on the way to required submission.

Christians and Western liberals seem ignorant of how traditional Islam, a warrior religion if ever, divides the world up into dar-al- Islam and dar-al-harb, the house of war. Everywhere where Islam is not prevalent is “the house of war”. Peace is not what mainstream Islam is about except as indicating the final state of humanity submitted to Islam and Sharia law however long it takes. Muslims however don’t see themselves as aggressors but rather as warrior martyrs, victims, because they are told not to be the aggressors until they have pretexts and are victims in effect(2: 194). This is partly why Muslims complain and protest so much within non Muslim societies and as in Muslim Pakistan listen to every rumour They must have reasons to impose themselves, so reasons are sometimes found by almost any means.

Some Muslims understand the real meanings and know the score. It is why Ayaan Hirsi Ali abandoned Islam and has told Muslims they should do likewise and espouse either atheism or Christianity because the God of the latter suggests more by way of love. (Raised a Syrian Muslim, writer Wafa Sultan, goes so far as describe the religion she knew as not being one of love – A God who Hates is the title of one of her books). It was not least on account of its doctrine of forgiveness that at great risk “Son of Hamas”, Mosab Hassan Yousef, converted out to Christianity.

A CONTESTED NAME AND REVELATION

What’s certain, but Christians don’t seem to get the message, is that the name of Allah – now forbidden under Malaysian law to Christians as a word they may use for God – is not a name that can be considered identical with the God of the Bible, whose covenantally revealed name is YAHWEH/ Jehovah of whom Jesus is an expression. Some Christians and Muslims might wish or intend to worship the same in terms of a monotheistic oneness concept, but for Christians Allah cannot be God’s name. It represents a different principle and doctrine including the possibility of relation as opposed to solely worship and obedience, so that in a sense Muslims are correct to tell Christians not to use the Allah word. Islam believes in an absolute as opposed to a unitive, inclusive one (i.e.the biblical echod as opposed to the absolute singularity of yachid) and condemns any Trinitarian thought accordingly. (It calls it “polytheism” not inclusive one).

Muslims are also correct after a fashion in regarding what is happening as an end of times or end or era, situation. Many are persuaded to go to Syria because of certain Hadith (sayings) attributed to such as a companion of Mohammed, Abu Hurayreh, which seem to locate Syria as a site of last battles on the way to the renewed Muslim Caliphate and world domination.

END OF ERA CONFLICT

It’s true we are at the end of the age of Pisces which Christ’s birth heralded. An across board spike in turmoil, suffering, death and martyrdom is to be expected as the world lives the equivalent of the last degree of the relevant sign. It is only in its coming-of-night context that one can begin to grasp what is happening to the persecuted Christian minorities across the Muslim world and why up to a point it is allowed to happen. IS itself might be said to fulfill prophecy like that of Christ, “Indeed an hour is coming when those who kill you will think that by doing it they are offering worship to God” (Joh 16:2).

IS will prosper, it will increase, it may even overrun Rome as per one Hadith, and be seen by many as bound to succeed, but it won’t. The end of the story will present many surprises.

It’s just a pity that meanwhile the West, which says and does so little in the face of the turmoil, fails to understand the  principles of the culture, religion and psychology it is dealing with and is shockingly disloyal to its Christian roots being too pragmatic, too  secular, selfish and interested in economic advantage to bother to protest abused Christian rights in any effective way with many nations like Korea and China and not just Muslim ones. Presently it regards this as strengthening the home base but it is merely fostering a weakness that will return on it and rend it. Good fortune depends upon attending to justice first.  The weakness and private sympathies of Obama particularly mark a disaster for the fortunes of Christians worldwide at a crucial moment of history and it is in this context that, if only to restore some balance and a moral one to public opinion and reporting, the intervention of Prince Charles is to be applauded.