Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Merry Christmas and (almost) Happy New Year to everyone. On Christmas, I remind my children not to take their presents for granted, as there are children around the world who didn't receive toys this morning. Similarly, as those of us who are a bit older celebrate the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ, let us not forget our brothers and sisters who are suffering even more at Christmas time, due to the persecution of Muslims. Here are a few instances to consider.

Christmas in Pakistan

GOJRA, Pakistan--Christmas in Gojra, where a tent camp houses Christians who lost their homes to a rampaging Muslim mob, will be celebrated not with decorations and cheer but with fear of another attack.

Those living in the canvas shelters after the worst violence against minorities in Pakistan this year left them homeless say they are still regularly harassed: Rocks are thrown at their camp at night, and they've been threatened by cell phone text messages promising a "special Christmas present."

"Last year I celebrated Christmas full of joy," said Irfan Masih, cradling his young son near one of the open ditches of the tent camp that has been his home for nearly five months. But now "the fear that we may again be attacked is in our hearts.

"They are threatening us, (saying) 'We will again attack you and will not let you out of your homes, we will burn you inside this time,'" he said. Read More.

Christmas in Indonesia

Fifteen police officers backed up by soldiers and local residents will guard every church across West Java during Christmas celebrations to prevent possible attacks, police said.

Dozens of churches in the province have closed since 2004 after being stormed or attacked by hard-line Muslim mobs. In 2000, militants bombed churches across the archipelago on Christmas Eve.

This week in Bandung, West Java, many Christians won't be able to celebrate Christmas in a church because they were denied permits to build their places of worship.

West Java Church Federation (BKSG) leader John Simon Timorason said Wednesday the biggest obstacle was applying for a building permit to build a church, so local Christians eventually opted to hold Christmas prayers in shopping malls, hotels, restaurants, shops and homes.

He said more than 60 percent of the 1,920 churches in West Java were built without permits because of difficulties in obtaining permits. Only 15 percent of churches have permanent buildings and have permits.

"We face difficulties obtaining permits. Those equipped with permits, such as the churches in Purwakarta, Bekasi and Depok, had their permits revoked due to pressure from intolerant groups," Simon told The Jakarta Post. Read More.

Christmas in Iraq

Christians in the Iraqi city have opted not to celebrate Christmas this year, since Ashura, a major Shi’ite day of mourning, falls on the same day. So out of “respect” for the local Shi’ites, Chaldean Catholic Bishop Imad Al Banna asked all Christians in Basra not to engage in any public celebration of Christmas, and not even to entertain guests or show any joy in the day.

Would Shi’ites curtail one of their celebrations to show similar “respect” to the Christians? Would they mute their joy on Eid al-Fitr if it began on Good Friday? And what would happen to these Christians if they failed to show this “respect”?

Meanwhile, Christians are still streaming out of Iraq in such large numbers that the ancient Christian community is on the verge of extinction. Islamic jihadists last week attacked churches and Christian schools in Mosul, with forty people killed in bomb attacks and random Christians targeted for violence on the streets. This is after jihadist violence late last year killed forty and drove 12,000 Christians from the area. “It is terrible,” one Mosul Christian told the Times of London: : “Most of the Christians are staying at home, or when they go out they watch their backs.” A member of another religious minority, the Yazidis, who lives in a Christian village remarked: “You cannot live in Mosul. Every day you find Christians being killed. Very few are still going to church. The women have to wear hijabs. They send someone first in a car to check if there is someone outside the church.” Source.

Christmas in Egypt

[I]n Egypt, Christian Solidarity International and the Coptic Foundation for Human Rights released a new report detailing rampant abuse of Christian women by Muslims: “Cases of abduction, forced conversion and marriage are usually accompanied by acts of violence which include rape, beatings, deprivation of food and other forms of physical and mental abuse.” John Eibner of Christian Solidarity International wrote a letter to Barack Obama about the treatment of Christian women, asking him to speak out and noting: “Trafficking of Christian women in Egypt is not a new phenomenon....But this problem has now reached boiling point within Egypt’s Coptic community, which views it as symptomatic of a much broader pattern of religious persecution.” But Obama, busy courting the good will of the Islamic world, is unlikely to say anything. And meanwhile, the State Department’s 2009 report on international religious freedom noted that the Egyptian government often turns a blind eye to crimes committed against Copts -- and government officials have on occasion even participated in those crimes. Source.

Christmas in Turkey

The Christians in Turkey are facing a similarly somber Christmas. “We are treated,” said the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, “as citizens of second class. We don’t feel that we enjoy our full rights as Turkish citizens.” Yet “we prefer to stay here, even crucified sometimes.” Source.

Christmas in the U.S.

Lest we think that we're immune here in the West, today, a Muslim named Umar Farul Abdul Mutallab attempted to blow up a plane to Detroit. The man claimed to be acting on behalf of Al Qaeda.

FoxNews--A male passenger possibly linked to terrorist organization Al Qaeda ignited a powdery substance prior to landing on a Delta Airlines flight to Detroit Friday, Fox News confirmed. The man is believed to be Nigerian.

Several people were hurt and one person, possibly the suspect, was admitted to the University of Michigan Medical Center at Ann Arbor, hospital spokeswoman Tracy Justice said. An emergency was declared aboard the flight, operated as Northwest flight 253, according to a Federal Aviation Administration spokesperson.

The suspect, who ABC reported suffered second-degree burns, told federal investigators he was connected to Al Qaeda, though authorities are questioning the veracity of that statement, Fox News confirmed. A federal situational awareness bulletin noted that the explosive was acquired in Yemen with instructions as to when it should be used, ABC said. Read More.

Of course, moderate and liberal Muslims are too busy complaining about the intolerance of the Swiss minaret ban to do anything about the persecution of non-Muslims in Muslim countries.


seeksearchfind said...

As someone who nearly turned to Islam because of problems i found in Christianity,(I say nearly as after looking deeper I found the same if not worse problems in Islam)
I still find issue relating Saturnalia,winter solstice and buckets of other pagan ritual with the so called birth of my Lord and master.

I know not of one reference to us in the bible to this "holy day"
The closest I find is in Jeremiah,
which tels me not to do most of the stuff Christians do every 25th of Dec.
I love this website and love all the debates that have brought me back to my original position that Jesus is Lord,
but this Christmas stuff is confusing to me,also the unclean meat thing,
If Jesus is the example are we, under our new covenant, ok to eat pork and such,turkey thats not Kosher etc.


Michelle Qureshi said...

Dear SeekSearchFind--

I had the same issue with Christmas when I became a Christian; it is true that virtually everything associated with the holiday has pagan roots.

There is no need to celebrate Christmas as a Christian. You can if you want; there's no harm in choosing that day to celebrate the incarnation of God. But there's no need, either.

The only harm comes when you confuse the pagan rituals with the faith; the rituals of the Christmas tree, gift-giving, etc. have no grounding in the teachings of Christ or the New Testament.

As far as eating the meat of "unkosher" things, I believe this is resolved in the New Testament. Mark 7:19 answers this question, as well as Acts 10 and various parts of Romans. I hope you give these scriptures a thorough read; they should answer your question.


Radical Moderate said...

CNN is reporting that the Muslim Missionary that tried to give the US a christmas present. Is the son of a wealthy Banker, and his family is saying that he is very "Relegious"

Go figure a relegious muslim tries to share his faith with the rest of the world by blowing up a plane. I never saw that one comming.

chrisse said...

Search and Nabeel, unfortunately you have been influenced by the lies and slanders of those whose sole purpose has been to destroy the Church that Christ founded. Some call themselves christians, even though they hate Christ's Church more than they love Christ, and appear to worship the Bible itself rather than His Word in toto.

The history of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church is our civilisation's history in all it's brilliance, complexity, scope and not so good stuff ( :) ). But She still stands. Quite amazing, and despite the whole of what humanity could throw at her both within and without.

Christmas Day is not a pagan celebration, but it's too complex for here. I'll go with the simpler Christmas Tree.

St Boniface went on an evangelisation mission to the northern "barbarians". Their god was Thor, and there was a sacred oak tree to which they would sacrifice babies. They believed that if the tree was cut down, Thor would reek revenge on them.

St Boniface did cut that tree down, built a Church with its wood, and the heathens converted (as Thor didn't do anything after all).

Instead of sacrificing babies, they were given the birth of the risen Lord - and we have our Christmas Trees.

I would also point out that St Paul himself would "become" as a Jew, a pagan in order to preach the Gospel. Quite Biblical in fact.

Christ's Church was named the Catholic Church by the end of the first century in order to differentiate their Churches from the heretics who were calling themselves xtian, mmmmmm........
Of course that's not in the Bible, but then again not everything is.

Pax Christi to all - Christ is Born, Christ is Risen, Christ will come again!

minoria said...

Hello Seeksearchfind:

I understand your bewilderment with 25 Dec.If you wish you can change Christmas celebration to the more calm day of JANUARY 7,when the people of the Eastern Orhtodox church celebrate.I am not of that church but the date has the advantage it has nothing to do with the WINTER SOLSTICE or the SATURNALIA.


As for the NON-MUSLIMS in the Muslim countries,most of who are Christians,but others are Hindus and secret apostates to atheism,deism,Christinaity,etc,I will repeat that we must let them in.They are real cases of discrimination based on religion,as sure as the JEWS were under COMMUNISM in the SOVIET UNION.(Did you know that then in the Soviet Union the Jews even had to have the word "JEW" on their ID CARD?)No matter HOW ASSIMILATED to Russian culture they were they were still nothing but Jews to the Communist authorities.


It has that a KGB AGENT who sees a RABBI in Russia sitting on a park bench.He is reading HEBREW.He asks the rabbi about it and gets the answer:"It is Hebrew.Did you know that the LANGUAGE of HEAVEN is HEBREW?"

AGENT:"No,I did not.But what if you died and found out that the language of heaven was RUSSIAN?"

RABBI:"Then I would know that I died and went to HELL."(Note:it is a joke told by the Soviet Jews themselves,but inaccurate,because Judaism doesn't believe in hell as a doctrine.)

Fernando said...

Hi seeksearchfind...

did you, during your studies, found thate the celebration off the incarnation off God was celebrated in the actual 25th of Dezember not only before the implementation off the celebration off the roman day off the Sun Day and in places where the roman empire was not preseant? Do you know whate is the "comptus theory"?

Did you know the celebration off the anuntiation, as a new creation, was celebrated in the day the Jews celebrated the supposed creation off the world (4 days after the equinoce off Spring)? Thate day plus 9 months you habe...

I guess you did...

may God bless you and your familie...

seeksearchfind said...

Thanks for all your answers and will research more,
But @@@ Fernando
is it possible to have an annual event about the start of the world,as in what was the day before...are you saying at some point in history there was a march 25th but not a March 24th? and who says it was march 25th?
is this not some genius counting back 9 months...
what has any of it to do with Our Lords birthday celebration,yule logs evergreen wreaths etc...
im confused

ps i have looked for this comptus theory and have found nothing can you point me somewhere please,even though its only a theory i will still consider it

seeksearchfind said...

nabeel is there a way to ask you and david questions directly

Unknown said...

Merry christmas everyone

today sunday: is ashura's day, which muslims fast in, as a ritual taken as is from pre-islamic pagan .. with no unerstanding .. just as a copy cat may be, or trying to fill worshiping gaps !!! and Aisha didnt understand why !!!

Radical Moderate said...

Solution: Muslism can not fly. thats it, they can have there own airline there own plane. But muslisms should not be allowed to fly with not muslims.

Fernando said...

Hi seeksearchfind...

thanks for your reply...
as I saide that you writte like many "antient" persons thate appeared in this blog? no? its true... I can remember the names off t_a_s; brianman; etc... nevertheless lets putt that on stand by for a moment...

so... you hane nott read anything aboutt whate I wrotte... is thate the measure off your study? thats coulde say a lot aboutt itt... nevertheless lets putt that on stand by for a moment...

aboutt the march 25th... yes: the Jewish people considered thate it was in thate day off the calendar thate the world (withe the sun) was created, 4 days after the beggining off the creation off the cosmos thate was supposed to habe happened in the day of the equinoce of Spring... obviously an theological, not an cosmological, theory...

from the start off the Christian celebration off the dead and ressurrection off our God, Jesus Christ, as can be testified in the works off Tertulian, there was a tradition that the 14 Nisan in which Jesus died corresponded to a 25 March...

now the "comptus theory"; this one describes the costumme thate antient people (Biblical ones as well) used to determine the birth off the great persons in history... back then the day off birth was off no importance, and only when someone became an important person they wantted to know when he/she was born... to do so, and since they had no way to determinate the precise day when someone was born, they used to say thate the day off the conception off someone thate became an important person was the day when he/she was concieved...

supposing thate Jesus died in the day the world (and the Sun) was created, as the new creation and the new sun thate the Biblical texts aplied to Him (see, v.g., Mk 3:20), and appliyeng the "comptus theory", he was concieved (the annuntiation) in a March 25th... 9 months after a March 25th we habe December 25th...

so: from the start off the history off our faithe the celebration off the incarnation off our God was not due to the "saturnalia, winter solstice and buckets of other pagan ritual" as you saide, rather based on theological motives...

thats whie I asked you: «did you, during your studies, found thate the celebration off the incarnation off God was celebrated in the actual 25th of Dezember not only before the implementation off the celebration off the roman day off the Sun Day and (was celebrated in thate day) in places where the roman empire was not preseant?»...

no one knows when thate day happened; we just know it happened; the 25 is a simbolical day thate says thate in thate day a new and efective world order off love, peace, liberty, true, justice began...

may God bless you and your familie...

Radical Moderate said...

Merry Christmas from Hamas, legalizes Crucifiction

Fernando said...

Sorry... I saide:

«they used to say thate the day off the conception off someone thate became an important person was the day when he/she was concieved...»

I meant:

«they used to say thate the day off the conception off someone thate became an important person was the day when he/she died...»

minoria said...

Hello Prophet:

I admire many great Catholic persons of history.I have always been fascinated by the best of the Catholic Church.One book I recently found out about is the one called THE EVERLASTING MAN by GILBERT KEITH CHESTERTON.

I think it is his best book.It is like a GENERAL defense of Christianity.Check it out.CHESTERTON was an Anglican convert to the Catholic Church.His book is a a sparkling diamond.


C.S. LEWIS,ex-atheist,the Anglo-Irish author of MERE CHRISTIANITY and the NARNIA CHRONICLES stated very emphatically that that book was THE book that convinced him of the truth of Christianity.I tell you,unfortunately that book by CHESTERTON is not read by Protestants but it is even better written than MERE CHRISTIANITY.Chesterton's style is sheer brilliance.Sparkling fire.

minoria said...

Here is an excerpt from THE EVERLASTING MAN

"The point of this book, in other words, is that the NEXT BEST thing to being really inside Christendom is to be REALLY OUTSIDE IT. And a particular point is that the popular critics of Christianity are not really outside it. ... the best relation to our spiritual home is to be near enough to love it. But the next best is to be far enough away not to hate it. It is the contention of these pages that while the BEST JUDGE of CHRISTIANITY is a CHRISTIAN, the NEXT BEST judge would be something more like a CONFUCIAN. The WORST judge of all is the man now most ready with his judgments; the ill-educated Christian turning gradually into the ill-tempered agnostic, entangled in the end of a feud of which he never understood the beginning, blighted with a sort of hereditary boredom with he knows not what, and already weary of hearing what he has never heard. ... For those in whom a mere reaction has thus become an obsession, I do seriously recommend the IMAGINATIVE EFFORT of CONCEIVING the TWELVE APOSTLES as CHINAMEN. In other words, I recommend these critics to try to do as much justice to CHRISTIAN SAINTS as if they were PAGAN SAGES. But ... when we do make this imaginative effort to see the whole thing from the outside, we find that it really looks like what is traditionally said about it inside."

minoria said...

For more info on THE EVERLASTING MAN by G.K.CHESTERTON write "The Everlasting Man" in WIKIPEDIA.At the BOTTON you will also see EXTERNAL LINKS with "Online Text of The Everlasting Man".Here is its table of contents:

1.The Man in the Cave
2.Professors and Prehistoric Man
3.The Antiquity of Civilization
4.God and Comparative Religion
5.Man and Myhtologies
6.Demons and Philosophers
7.The War of the Gods and Demons
8.The End of the World
1.The God in the Cave
2.The Riddles of the Gospel
3.The Strangest Story in the World
4.The Witness of the Heretics
5.The Escape from Paganism
6.The 5 Deaths of the Faith
1.On Prehistoric Man
2.On Authority and Accuracy

Jordans said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jordans said...

That said there is a science to picking the right card that involves choosing the right words and images. The subject line also matters a lot before you click send because if it sounds wrong in your head it will probably sound wrong when it reaches someone's inbox. There will be more cards next year, so stay tuned..