Proverbs 11:9 - 'The hypocrite with his mouth destroys his neighbour, But through knowledge the righteous will be delivered'.
Proverbs 11:12 - 'He who is devoid of wisdom despises his neighbour, But a man of understanding holds his peace'.
And right there, these two scriptures describe the hypocrisy and fatuousness of those Christians who are constantly attacking Islam, demonising Muslims and persecuting refugees, with much of their vitriol based on lies, misrepresentations, stereotyping and plain hatred.
Matthew 7:5 challenges these hypocrites with the much-ignored scripture: 'Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye'
While some Christians are demonising all Muslims over the actions of a few terrorists, they cheer on the bombings and invasions of Christian leaders. These Christians also support the genocide and ethnic cleansing of Palestine through Israel's war crimes and illegal occupation because 'the bible tells them to' while they ignore the parts that clearly blow Zionism out of the water. (Refer to 'Challenging Zionism: http://thepandarant.blogspot.com/2017/04/challenging-zionism-illogical-christian.html). In fact, they deny Israel's war-crimes and the very existence of Palestinians. Ethnic cleansing much?
There was the illegal invasion of Iraq in 2003 by the so-called 'Coalition of the Willing', led by illustrious Christians, President George W. Bush, Prime Minister Tony Blair and perennial international lapdog and US apologist, Australia's own lickspittle-in-chief, Prime Minister John Howard. This war resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent people (far more than despot Saddam Hussein ever killed), and gave rise to ISIS.
Throughout the 20th century, most genocides and wars were caused by Christians. The benchmark was of course set by Adolf Hitler with his genocide of Jews, socialists, gypsies, homosexuals, the sick and infirm, and anyone who was considered a dissident. Germany was a Christian nation and most soldiers serving the Nazi regime were Christian. Other wars which Christians unleashed included the First World War, the Korean War, Vietnam, and of course, the ubiquitous Cold War in which the 'Christian' United States and the atheist Soviet Union went head to head in everybody else's countries except their own. Much of the Cold War was waged through the Middle East and Asia, including Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Vietnam and Indonesia. These wars resulted in the deaths and displacement of hundreds of millions of people, with many of them becoming refugees.
Those refugees are then demonised, abused and tortured by the same Christians who supported the wars that caused their displacement. Australia's mistreatment of refugees has been widely condemned by the United Nations, Amnesty International, aid organisations and many in the international community. The UN accused Australia of torturing refugees(1), Amnesty stated that humane solutions existed but Australia chooses to abuse refugees(2), and the New York Times slammed Australia's treatment of refugees as a disgrace(3).
|Dutton calls for pro-Christmas uprising while abusing innocent children and adults(4)|
Two of Australia's Immigration Ministers who reveled in the vote-winning policies of abusing innocent people, were Peter Dutton and Scott Morrison. While justifying their abusive treatment of innocent and traumatised people, both men defended their Christianity against criticism. Dutton angrily called for a 'pro-Christmas' uprising against political correctness because Australia is a 'Christian society'(4). Meanwhile the sickeningly smug Scott Morrison, always happy to blame Islam for everything bad in society, vowed to defend Christianity against mockery(5). Morrison vowed to stand up to 'mockery and jokes about Christianity'. But conservative Christianity is a joke because of hypocrites such as Morrison, Dutton, former Prime Minister Tony Abbott and arch-conservative Cory Bernardi who have all waged an unrelenting war against Islam based on fear-mongering, hate-speech and the active abuse and torture of people fleeing war and persecution. Sadly, it's not a funny joke, conservative Christianity is a mockery of the Christianity of Christ.
The actions of these so-called Christians in their incessant attacks on Islam, have more in common with terrorists than with Jesus. Just like terrorists, including the world's latest bogeyman Islamic State (ISIS), anti-Muslim Christians cherry-pick the Quran while refusing to acknowledge or understand context. The Quran itself states that the 'whole' is from God, the whole needs to be considered(6). The Quran talks of those who claim they understand the whole of the scripture but instead twist it. Chapter 3 verse 8 says '... those in whose hearts is perversity pursue such thereof as are susceptible of different interpretations, seeking discord and seeking wrong interpretation of it ... they say, ‘We believe in it; the whole is from our Lord.’ — And none heed except those gifted with understanding'.
But why worry about truth or context when you're consumed with hate and have an agenda to destroy everyone who isn't Christian. The small-minded, the hypocrites, those lacking wisdom take Islamic out of context. So if Christians aren't going to keep the Quran or Haddiths in context, then neither should the Bible be kept in context when discussing it with them.
It's ironic that Christians accuse Muslims of having a violent religion when history clearly shows that Christianity is the most violent religion the world has known. For centuries, Christians have led wars and invasions into almost every nation in the world, killing hundreds of millions of people. Whereas most Muslim wars were in defence of invasions by Christians. Where Muslims only fought against those soldiers who fought them and left alone those who didn't fight, Christians were happy to massacre every man, woman and child. Muslims were fighting in accordance with the Quran which instructed them to only fight in self-defence, as stated in Chapter 22 verse 40: 'Permission to fight is given to those against whom war is made, because they have been wronged', and to only fight those who are fighting them, which is made clear right at the start of the Quran, in Chapter 2 verse 194: '... no hostility is allowed except against the aggressors'. This is the meaning of jihad - to fight against those who attack Muslims. It is self-defence. It isn't a waging of genocidal war against non-Muslims in order to conquer the world. For people who claim to follow a religion of truth, many conservative Christians are more than happy to lie about Islam.
The Quran instructs Muslims not to fight with Christians and Jews (which the Quran calls People of the Book) unless the People of the Book are inflicting the wrong as stated in Surah 29:46 'And dispute ye not with the People of the Book, except with means better (than mere disputation), unless it be with those of them who inflict wrong (and injury)'.
Contrasting the Quranic scripture of only engaging active combatants, to some of the Old Testament writings which called for genocide by 'killing every man, woman and child', in other words, kill everyone even if they are not actively fighting. 1 Samuel 15:3 is but one scripture (yes, there is more than one), that calls on this: '... Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys'. Deuteronomy 2:34: 'At that time we took all his towns and completely destroyed them--men, women and children. We left no survivors'. And it goes on. Deuteronomy 3:6, 20:16-18 (which says to leave nothing alive that breaths). And then there's Numbers 31:17-18, which raises a disturbing issue of rape, sex slavery and pedophilia, 'Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man, but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man'. Why would they keep the virgins? It wasn't out of mercy. Keep in mind that most girls were married by puberty, so most of those who hadn't slept with a man were female children.
Challenge a conservative Christian on the violence of the Old Testament and they will immediately claim it needs to be understood in context ... which is a luxury that they don't afford Quranic scripture. Funnily enough the Quran has advice for these Christians (who are called People of the Book). Surah 4:171 says, 'O People of the Book! Commit no excesses in your religion: Nor say of Allah aught but the truth'. Yet conservatives commit excesses all the time ... in their waging of war, their abuse of refugees, their attack on Islam ... and then there's prosperity doctrine! But that's another story.
Many conservative Christians are quick to quote the Quran and ignore much of their own bible; a book that defends the poor and the persecuted. Christians can't argue that these scriptures are just Old Testament and therefore don't apply, as the New Testament states in Matthew 5:17, 'Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them'.
Just a reminder of some the scriptures to which conservative Christians give a cold-shoulder:
Leviticus 19:33-34: 'And if a stranger dwells with you in your land, you shall not mistreat him. The stranger who dwells among you shall be to you as one born among you, and you shall love him as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God'.
Deuteronomy 10:18-19: 'He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt'.
Malachi 3:5: 'So I will come to put you on trial. I will be quick to testify against sorcerers, adulterers and perjurers, against those who defraud laborers of their wages, who oppress the widows and the fatherless, and deprive the foreigners among you of justice, but do not fear me," says the Lord Almighty'.
Matthew 25:25-36 (the entire parable of the sheep and the goats), including: 'for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me'.
Matthew 5:1-12 (the Beatitude, or the Sermon on the Mount, which is the Manifesto of Jesus), including: 'Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy'.
Matthew 5:44: 'love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you'.
And just so that Christians can't possibly get lost in the overwhelming volume of scripture, Jesus dumbed it down to seven words:
Galations 5:14: 'For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbour as yourself" '.
You shall love your neighbour as yourself.
Seven words that sum up Christianity, yet many conservative Christians just don't grasp how to live this.
The church has become more concerned with making money than in making peace, it is more concerned with spreading hate than in spreading love, it is more concerned with increasing church numbers than in being a living witness for Jesus - which would mean loving their neighbour AND loving their enemy. Yet too many Christians are engaged in attacking their 'enemy', even though the bible instructs them to love their enemy. They see 'social justice warriors' as do-gooders, even though the bible states that we are 'created in Christ Jesus to do good works'. It seems Christ was the ultimate do-gooder. We're not just called to do good to other Christians or those who treat us nice. Luke 6:33 says, 'And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same'.
In Australia, the recent marriage equality debate saw conservative Christians mobilised like never before to condemn LGBTIQ+ people through the use of lies and fear in the name of defending 'Christian values'. Some of this turned ugly, with violence and vandalism unleashed on pro-marriage equality people(7). The office of marriage equality campaigner and Sydney politician, Alex Greenwich, received hundreds of abusive phone calls over two weeks, which included death threats, hoping they died of AIDS, accusing them of being pedophiles, declaring 'all homosexuals will burn in hell' and even suggestions of undertaking 'gay conversion therapy' conducted by a US-based Christian counselling organisation(8) - where's the love? Yet most of these self-righteous Christians have been either deadly silent or vocally supportive of perpetuating the abuse of refugees and demonising of Muslims. One wonders how Christian their values actually are.
If Christians wish to 'defend Christianity', then they should defend it against the insidious rancor that has permeated the minds and spirits of conservative Christianity. Before lashing out at Islam, Palestinians, LGBTIQ+ people, refugees or anyone else, Christians should consider their actions and words in light of the teachings of Christ in loving our neighbour and caring for the poor, the refugee and the persecuted.
One of Christianity's biggest celebrations is Christmas, when a jolly fat man spreads materialistic cheer through consumerism. Santa Clause is a capitalist manifestation of a true Christian named St Nicholas; a man who helped the needy and the sinner. He once helped three sisters who were in poverty by secretly placing three bags of gold coins in their house to prevent them from having to prostitute themselves. He is the patron saint of repentant thieves, pawnbrokers, prostitutes and he defended Christianity against heresy. St Nick would be horrified to see what his legacy as become in the name of capitalist Christianity. One can't help but think that the real St Nick would punch out the Santa Claus. His actions were not based on people being naughty or nice, but being worthy of being loved.
Sadly, far too many Christians, those of the Scott Morrison ilk, are more concerned with fighting for the right to say 'Merry Christmas', then in actually living their lives as Christ commanded.
But let's give God the last word:
Matthew 25:40 - 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me'
1. The Guardian, Ben Doherty and Daniel Hurst, UN accuses Australia of systematically violating torture convention, 10 March 2015, https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/mar/09/un-reports-australias-immigration-detention-breaches-torture-convention. Accessed 24 December 2017.
2. Amnesty International, Four years on: Humane solutions to offshore detention exist but Government chooses abuse, 19 July 2017, https://www.amnesty.org.au/four-years-humane-solutions-offshore-detention-exist-government-chooses-abuse/. Accessed 24 December 2017.
3. New York Times, The Editorial Board, Australia's stranded refugee prisoners, 20 October 2016, https://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/20/opinion/australias-stranded-refugee-prisoners.html. Accessed 24 December 2017.
4. The Sydney Morning Herald, Michael Koziol, Peter Dutton calls for pro-Christmas uprising against 'political correctness gone mad', 16 December 2016, http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/peter-dutton-calls-for-prochristmas-uprising-against-political-correctness-gone-mad-20161214-gtbj63.html. Accessed 24 December 2017.
5. The Guardian, Michael McGowan, Scott Morrison vows to stand up to 'mockery' of Christians, 22 December 2017, https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/dec/22/scott-morrison-vows-to-stand-up-to-mockery-of-christians. Accessed 24 December 2017.
6. Independent, Qasim Rashid, Anyone who says the Quran advocates terrorism obviously hasn't read its lessons on violence, 10 April 2017, http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/islam-muslim-terrorism-islamist-extremism-quran-teaching-violence-meaning-prophet-muhammed-a7676246.html. Accessed 24 December 2017.
7. BuzzFeed, Lane Sainty, Josh Taylor, 65 Times The Same-Sex Marriage Debate was Definitely Not Respectful, 10 November 2017, https://www.buzzfeed.com/lanesainty/please-make-it-stop1. Accessed 24 December 2017.
8. BuzzFeed, Lane Sainty, This Marriage Equality Campaigner Couldn't Answer The Phone For Two Weeks Due to Abuse, 1 February 2018, https://www.buzzfeed.com/lanesainty/marriage-campaign-reveals-hateful-correspondence. Accessed 4 February 2018.
- Updated 4 February 2018