Daring to speak in multicultural environment

Living in a multicultural environment, in a democratic capitalist world, you may wonder how much freedom of speech and freedom of religion people are willing to give to each other.

U.S Postage Stamp, 1957

U.S Postage Stamp, 1957 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In our world which says it is a free democratic world you would expect religious freedom to be a fundamental right. It might well be recognised by international human rights documents, and one which is integral to our human dignity, but that does not mean yet that people are so open minded they accept other’s people way of thinking and certainly not their sort of faith. In our surroundings the countries may enable its citizens to live in accordance with deeply held values and beliefs about what it means to be human, but by the different population groups we encounter often those who only are prepared to have their way of thinking, their faith, to be the one to be the main value and to which everybody has to adapt to. For sure that can not be called an open mind.

The exclusion of other Christians can be felt mostly by evangelicals, especially pentecostal new-born Christians. They shall in many cases fiercely react against non-trinitarian Christians, even would deny their right to call themselves Christians. Strangely enough by those evangelicals who call for unity under Christians and say we should come to religious freedom, we find many who oppose Muslims or people belonging to an other religion than their Christendom. Are those who are calling for religious freedom accepting the theists (those who accept a or the godhead exist) and atheists who belief that he doesn’t

(glossing over wrinkles in which god we may be talking about…). {Does not believing result in belief?}

Often we do find they close the doors for such other believing people, instead of trying to go into conversation talking about the differences in belief. Often they complain that their faith is threatened by all the immigrants and by the many converts to Islam. They also often complain that the other groups seemingly have little understanding of, or respect for, the rights of their religious communities to maintain the religious identity of their organisations, but often it are they themselves who oppose the religious laws like halal and kosher food or religious killing of animals without sedatives. In Belgium we can clearly see this with the opposition against the slaughter of sheep for the Jews and Muslims.

In Australia some may call to withdraw all government funds from organisations that ‘discriminate’, but often they do not see in own bosom, often bringing wrong and discriminating messages over other believers.

As Babamboga from Nairobi,Kenya, writes:

Christians at time are so side blinded they believe that the only way is Jesus Christ and anything else is going to hell including Muslims and the Buddhists and if go further on some a bit open minded Christians will say that Allah is the same God but does that mean anyone worshipping Buddha or Seth are already sinners but really is that their problem. It is like judging people who grew up knowing Santa Claus exists, is it really their problem that they believe such old folk tales are real? And oftenly in most of those movies it is faith that ensures these fairy tale super heroes are still alive. {Oh, My brother testify.}

This person is right to remind people what is written in the Bible were God is letting the world know that

there will be prophets who will spread his word

and that it doesn’t necessarily have to be pastors who give wrong renditions of the Bible based on their useless understanding of the word. Too many people still give too much preference to those theologian writings instead of clinging to the Bible Words, of which we are told that they are the Words of God.

In Belgium, the last thirty years, church attendance became minimal whilst the attendance at mosques grew intensively. We do agree that in our juridical system only the recognised religions agreeing with the council shall have their priests, pastors, rabbi‘s or imams paid by the government, but that did not withdraw many who believe in only One God to go out and preach and to attract those Christians who got muddled up by the many human doctrines.

By those monotheist believers we do find the non-trinitarian Christians who are outnumbered by the many different non-recognised or non-official or not Islam council associated Muslims, who often get together in packed garage mosques.

At the same time we do find several fanatic fundamentalist Christians who bring in hell for everything they can. They come up with saying that the Bible actually condemns some behaviour and wonder how the church will outright give justice to drunkards and prostitutes.

… yet in the bible itself, mind you in the new testament, weren’t prostitutes part of His plans, weren’t thieves there too…. {Oh, My brother testify.}

Those who call themselves Christian should come to see the difference between Christendom and Christianity and should distance themselves from human doctrines, looking for Biblical truth there where it is to find, in the Bible itself.

Some Christians are so into their religion and they fail to see when pastors apply simple mind games of the interpretation and soon a whole congregation enjoys in the feasting of snakes and you wonder has it really got to the point that if I do a couple of acted miracles and tell people the Lord wants us to eat sinners you will all follow. {Oh, My brother testify.}

In our surroundings where, this way, we do find many who fled from the Catholic and other Christian denominations to find a stronghold by Muslims, it is important that followers of Christ take up the Bible and perhaps also the Quran to show others where it went wrong in Christendom and what is really written in the Holy Books and how our society should come to the Abrahamic faith.

When there is an open mind and freedom of religion, each faith-group, monotheist, unitarian or trinitarian, or having a whole bunch of gods to worship, should have the same rights to be there and to speak out.

That outspokenness we not often enough do find by Christians. Many of them just keep their beliefs for their own and do not dare to speak about it with others.

The agnostic is saying that they don’t think there is a way to transform a belief about god’s existence into knowledge. But they could still hold a belief on the matter. You could be an agnostic atheist, or, for that matter, an agnostic theist. {Does not believing result in belief?}

For many the issue of a god has become so complicated by theologians and philosophers

that we think it is some totally different concept that we can treat differently. Maybe people just don’t want to take a stand, they’re too unsure or don’t want to offend. {Does not believing result in belief?}

The one who really believes in the One True God, need not to be afraid to express his opinion. He has good reason to let others know what he believes.

Many would say

Of course there is no chance of “proving” God by strict logical syllogisms (but can we prove anything outside of mathematics this way?) Every logician knows that there’s nothing in the conclusion that is not already latent in the premises. But neither is this inability any proof that such a being as God does not or cannot exist. You may as well say that since I cannot prove to you whether life exists on other planets by sheer argument it therefore cannot exist. An unprovable proposition is not any more false (or true) simply because it cannot be proven. {Pascal’s Possibility}

We have the Book of books to give us an idea of the nature of the Most High Divine Being. For some it seems manifestly impossible to prove an image of God,

formed by a haphazard, subconscious blending of our moral intuitions and deepest wishes, it is not simply a figment of our imagination {Pascal’s Possibility}

The real believer knows exactly it is not just some imagination and wants others to know it. It is like you found something incredible or you ‘invented’ something extraordinary. You cannot be quiet about it.

Some might think the fact that the ideal is too good to be really possible.
But

It is a trick of the mind to think that the goodness of a thing counts as positive proof against its existence. You may as well be lying on the beach and say the sun feels too good to exist. {Pascal’s Possibility}

Encountering so many people today who laugh at the saying that there would be a god Who created everything and Who is so good that He has a Plan that will bring eternal life and peace for many, there is reason enough to tell them that the question about such a God existing has nothing to do with if logic proves it

… logic either does, or does not, make such a God’s existence possible. {Pascal’s Possibility}

But we should listen to our inner being and look around ourselves. We also should not be afraid not to claim absolute demonstrable knowledge, but “reasonable belief”. And that “reasonable belief” should be founded deep in our heart and fed by a thorough knowledge of the Bible.

From somewhere we received the Good News and came into the faith. Now it’s up to us to share it wherever we are. We now should come to the conclusion that it is marvellous that we came into the faith to become children of God. Knowing and accepting the Divine Creator as our heavenly Father to Whom we own everything, we also do know that it is a privilege and a responsibility that God gives to us to go and speak others about His wonderworks.

When we came into the faith we wanted to become part of the Body of Christ, the church, and one of the highest things that you can do in the church, is to be an active member willing to share the truth. For sharing that truth we do not have to give a theological or biblical lecture and we do not have to have a theological education (though it might help, but could also distract, because most theological colleges are formed from one or the other denomination and focussing more on the worldly writings than on the Bible itself.)

What the community of faith demands of their members is an openness to others and words that can make the community grow. Though it is also not bad to have words which will remind those in community of how the world really is now. Therefore we too are looking for writers who are willing to share how the world is evolving. What happens around us may not let us be untouched. We have to notice it and should react accordingly how that God would like us to behave in such surroundings.

When looking at this reality of the world we are living in we can show the difference of this world with the different world in God’s Plan. Writing about it or preaching we can become preachers exposing the lies that are driving people’s lives,

ripping them to shreds, sapping them of strength and energy. {10 Years of Preaching, 10 Lessons: Lesson 1}

A ‘Lead Pastor’ from Bloom in Denver believes preaching is

standing up in a tradition that reaches back to Moses and Isaiah and finds its consummation and climax in Jesus of Nazareth and saying, “The reign of God is here. Change your mind, and believe yourself into this shocking good news.” {10 Years of Preaching, 10 Lessons: Lesson 1}

It is following up the task Jesus has give to his disciples, to go out into the world to tell about that Good News. We have to come to understand that we are messengers called to this –

to employing all of the resources our speech to construct alternative modes of understanding for the people of God so that they can leave every dehumanizing Egypt and Babylon they find themselves in. Week after week, we summon them saying, It is time to go home! {10 Years of Preaching, 10 Lessons: Lesson 1}

It is not by praying often out loud, while driving down the road, for all to see, listening to a lot of Christian music with sometimes cheesy, weird beats and no cuss words, letting yourself be seen at the church-building and certainly not by going to church and

worship a man named Jesus who you may believe has saved the world by dying and coming back to life. {Why Being A Christian Isn’t Cool}

that you will find the way back home and would bring others to home-base. But when you keep to the words as they are written in the Bible and to a honest form of worship, without all the cirque and circumstance, concentrating on the truth instead of letting yourself and others be diverted by entertainment, you shall be able to go together with other devoted people on the right path. And, yes, that way you perhaps have lesser people in your congregation and would not be able to build a mega church, but better to have a good quality church than a quantity church.

We, who label ourselves as “Christians” need to re-focus.  We need to speak the truth, even when it hurts.  We need to replace the luke warm water in our mouths with hot sauce baby, confidently sharing God’s peace, grace and power.   {Why Being A Christian Isn’t Cool}

We should not have fear, like the apostles, when Jesus was caught, where very much afraid to let others know they were with Jesus. After he died and raised from the dead they even did hide in houses. We should not hide ourselves in our house, but go out, like the apostles did after they received the Holy Spirit.

We as Christians should be baptised with water but also with Holy Spirit and be encouraged to speak. Opening our heart to God we can let God’s Spirit enlighten us and guide us on our way. Trusting Him using His Word as our backbone we shall be able to enter many sorts of gates of this world, which is in the hands of ‘Satan,’ the adversary of God who more than once shall try to question you about the existence of that One God.

When questioned about God, what we belief and be tested, let us never compromise the truth ourselves for anything or anyone. We always do have to be carefully how we treat the Word of God. It is sacrilegious. That Holy Word we should sincerely seriously investigate and reflect on ourselves and those around us. When we want to tell others about that word we sincerely honestly should show the facts of it, showing that it presents good but also bad in all people, even in men of God. Bring the gospel-message we should dare to show good and bad of all and that we dare to let others see the brutal forces or battles which took place in the past. We may not present it as if everything is moonshine but also never may be guilty of turning the sweet gospel into something sour by our own surliness.

If we do, we might cause the hearer to turn away from God wincing instead of turning to him rejoicing. {Lessons Learned from 25 Years of Preaching (3)}

We also should remember that we

Don’t Have to Be Vicious with Truth to Be Strong for Truth {Lessons Learned from 25 Years of Preaching (3)}

We may not let any unwholesome talk come out of our mouths. Our ordinary speech should be  always with grace and as a sacrifice.

Col 4:6 RNKJV  Let your speech be always with favour, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.

Col 3:8 RNKJV  But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.

Eph 4:24 RNKJV  And that ye put on the new man, which after Elohim is created in righteousness and true holiness.

It is a vain effort to try to exorcise the evil only. Character is not a negation. Having put on the new self by our baptism we should be proud to show to others that renewed body which is created in God’s likeness and let it reveals itself in the true life that is upright and holy.

By saying

You have learned the Christ

the apostle Paul puts the members of the ecclesia their faith upon a high level; it is the faith of approved disciples in Christ’s school. For such men the “philosophy and vain deceit” of Colossae and the plausibilities of the new “scheme of error” will have no charm.

Also for us who want to go out in the world to bring the Word of God to as many as we can, we should be so pleased that we have found the treasures of wisdom and knowledge that are hidden in Christ, that we want to share that treasure with as many as we can, because we do want to have the love of Christ also in our heart and bring the fire unto those around us.

Therefore also in trying to reach others we do not want to use harmful words, but only helpful words, the kind that build up and provide what is needed, so that what we say will do good to those who hear us.

Eph 4:29-32 RNKJV  Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister favour unto the hearers.  (30)  And grieve not the holy Spirit of YHWH, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.  (31)  Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:  (32)  And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as YHWH for the Messiah’s sake hath forgiven you.

 

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Preceding articles:

Your position about materialistic desires having conquered the world

Looking for a shepherd for the sheep and goats

When believing in God’s existence and His son, possessing a divine legislation

Not making yourselves abominable

Where are the female writers

Perishable non theologians daring to go out to preach

What Should I Preach ?

 

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  59. Christadelphian Auxiliary Lecturing Society in changed times
  60. Dissolution of Bijbelvorsers (Bible scholars), Association for Bible study
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Further reading:

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28 Comments

Filed under Activism and Peace Work, Announcement, Knowledge & Wisdom, Lifestyle, Religious affairs, Spiritual affairs, World affairs

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