There were riots and murders taking place in Afghanistan this past week because some soldiers took copies of the Koran to the garbage disposal to be burned which had been tossed in the trash. Top military personnel (and the President of the United States) have apologized for this act which has infuriated the believers of Islam.
It seems that the burning of the Koran was not an intentional slander or slur against Islam; but were Korans confiscated from prisoners who were using them as a code book to pass messages. At least ten people have lost their lives as a result; and many others have been wounded – including US Soldiers.
There are many other religious books being opened all across the nation on Saturday and Sunday Mornings. Most of them do not espouse hatred, violence, and the murder of those who do not agree with their practices. However, they practice forgiveness.
Here in Fayette County – just south of Atlanta – there are over 100 Protestant churches holding services to honor the God and the Christ they worship. There are at least 35 Muslim Mosques in the greater Atlanta area, a Hindu Temple in Riverdale, Georgia – also just south of Atlanta; and there are over 40 Synagogues in metro-Atlanta. Each of these religious groups is practicing their rights under the Constitution to worship as they see fit.
Our Constitution has guaranteed each American the freedom of religion. It does not guarantee anything to those who are not citizens. Those who endured months on rickety ships to come to the new world came to escape religious persecution. They were willing to risk everything to be able to live in peace and to be able to raise their families in freedom. Today those freedoms are being jeopardized.
They came for the freedom to work, to have homes, to raise their crops, to be able to worship God according to their own ways and according to their own faith. For centuries, those of many different faiths have come to the shores of America and have been welcomed with open arms.
We are a nation of laws – laws that were created and implemented to protect the life, limb, and property of all citizens regardless of race, creed, religion, or national origin. Nowhere does it give the right to religions to make their own judicial laws which are contrary to the US Constitution. Nowhere (except in an act of war) does it condone violence. Nowhere does it allow any religion to force others to believe in their religion.
Each family that came to this country was on their own; and they were responsible for their own well being; and they were expected to take up arms if necessary to defend the freedom of all. Today, all Americans do not embrace the faith of these simple Pilgrims who came to these shores seeking peace, safety, security, and freedom.
There are many religions practiced in America; some well noted; and still others obscure. They have the right under the Constitution and have a God given right to choose how (and who) they will worship. While the government protects the rights of all who worship, it is not the government’s bailiwick to force religion of any kind on the citizens. Christians, in particular, are feeling that they are not receiving the first.
God does not force anyone to believe in the Bible. But all religions – accept the Atheists – are the same in that deep within the souls of man, there is a need to worship the creator. It was placed there by God; but man must choose or deny. . Religion can be founded on love or hate. Religion may not necessarily be merely for worship; but for other means of self or group gratification.
What is religion? “A personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices.”
What is faith? “Faith is something that is believed especially with strong conviction.”
What is Islam? Islam is the religious faith of Muslims including belief in Allah as the sole deity and in Muhammad as his prophet.
What is Atheism? Atheism is the disbelief in the existence of deity. In America they have that right.
What is Christianity? The faith is derived from Jesus Christ, based on the Bible as sacred scripture.
What is Judaism? A religion developed among the ancient Hebrews and characterized by belief in one transcendent God who has revealed himself to Abraham, Moses, and the Hebrew prophets; and by a religious life in accordance with Scriptures and rabbinic traditions.
What is Paganism? Another word for Pagan is heathen; especially a follower of a polytheistic religion. Also, one who has little or no religion and who delights in sensual pleasures and material goods – an irreligious or hedonistic person.
What is Hinduism? The dominant religion of India that emphasizes dharma with its resulting ritual and social observances and often mystical contemplation and ascetic practices.
What is Buddhism? Buddhism is a religion of eastern and central Asia growing out of the teaching of Gautama Buddha that suffering is inherent in life and that one can be liberated from it by mental and moral self-purification.
What is Catholicism? Roman Catholicism is the faith, doctrine, or polity of the Roman Catholic Church.
What is Protestant (ism)? A Protestant is a member of any of several church denominations denying the universal authority of the Pope and affirming the Reformation principles of justification by faith alone, the priesthood of all believers, and the primacy of the Bible as the only source of revealed truth. ~~~~~ Source: Websters
These are but a few of the recognized religions in America. There are many sub-religions based somewhat on those above; and then there are those who are involved in the Occult. The practices of the Occult are many; but basically matters thought to involve the influence of supernatural forces from the evil or netherworld.
There are threads of similarity through all of these practices. One is that they have a book. A book written by someone, a group of people. They are a combination of folk lore, history, and superstition. While they each have a book – they look at their book in a different way.
To Islam, the Koran itself is sacred – the paper, the ink, the cover. To Christians – it is not the book they worship but the words inside the Bible. Atheists are people who do not believe in any deity or God; but believes in the science book.
The Jews believe in the Torah; the Mormons the Book of Mormon.
All of these books have one thing in common – they are the work of man. And most of these books honor, worship, pray to, and recognize (as hol) the man who the book was written about or by.
There is an exception with the Bible. It was written by men through the inspiration of the God. The writers of the Bible have no claim of being Holy; nor do they advocate that they should be worshipped.
The Koran: The book composed of sacred writings accepted by Muslims as revelations made to Muhammad by Allah through the angel Gabriel.
The Book of Mormon: The ancient redactor and compiler of the Book of Mormon presented as divine revelation by Joseph Smith – i.e. Church of the Latter Day Saints.
The Torah: The Torah is the body of wisdom and law contained in Jewish Scripture and other sacred literature and oral tradition – it records the five books of Moses constituting the Pentateuch.
The Christian Bible: The Christian Bible is the sacred scriptures of Christians comprising the Old Testament and the New Testament. Source: Wikipedia
From the fly leaf of Dwight L. Moody – renowned Christian preacher and Bible scholar.
The Bible sets forth two things – The Cross and the Throne. The Old Testament points toward the Cross. The Gospel tells the story of the Cross.
The Epistles point toward the Throne. The Revelation tells the story of the Throne.
The Old Testament tells us what sin leads to – and ends with these words. “Lest, I come and smite the Earth with a curse. Malachi 4:6.
The New Testament shows us the way out of sin; and ends thusly: The Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you All. Rev. 22:21~~~~~
The Bible shows man his sin; and then it shows him/her the way to eternal salvation through the sacrifice of Christ, the Son of God, in order to inherit forever peace, freedom, security, and life everlasting.
The Bible is not ONE book; but 66 books. Testament means “contract” or “covenant!” We have seen above who wrote the books of various religions; so you may be wondering who wrote the Bible?
The Bible was written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit by over 40 different authors from all walks of life: shepherds, farmers, tent-makers, physicians, fishermen, priests, philosophers and kings. Despite these differences in occupation (and the span of years it took to write it), the Bible is an extremely cohesive and unified book.
The Bible was written over a period of some 1,500 years, from around 1450 B.C. (the time of Moses) to about 100 A.D. (following the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ).
While other religious books were written in one basic language, the Bible was written in three languages: Hebrew, Aramaic, and Koine Greek. The Bible was first translated into English by John Wycliffe in 1382 A.D.
The Bible was printed in 1454 A.D. by Johannes Gutenberg who invented the “type mold” for the printing press. It was the first book ever printed.
The Holy Bible has been translated into 2,018 languages.
The Bible is the best-selling book of all time.
The Bible teaches love, tolerance, forgiveness, purity, righteous living, and allows God to be the judge of everyone.
The Bible has been burned, spat upon, torn to shreds and ridiculed and men have died for believing in it – not because they desecrated it; but because they believe in it.
Today there is a man in Iran who is facing death because he is a Christian; and will not deny Christ for the Muslim religion. What kind of religion is it that it kills its people?
Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani has been sentenced to death by an Iranian court for converting from Islam to Christianity. He is guilty of apostasy under Islamic law. Christians like this are being persecuted for their faith all over the world. Pray that God will intervene; and if he gives his life for Christ – he will be giving that he cannot keep – gaining what he cannot lose.
Practically every home in America has access to a Bible – but how many just worship the Book; and not the contents. It is nothing more than paper, ink, and a cover like any other book; but its contents are unlike any other book ever written.
The Anvil of God’s Word
“Last eve I paused beside the blacksmith’s door,
And heard the anvil ring the vesper chime;
Then looking in, I saw upon the floor,
Old hammers, worn with beating years of time.
“‘How many anvils have you had,’ said I,
‘To wear and batter all these hammers so?’
‘Just one,’ said he, and then with twinkling eye,
‘The anvil wears the hammers out, you know.’
“And so, I thought, the Anvil of God’s Word
For ages skeptic blows have beat upon;
Yet, though the noise of falling blows was heard,
The Anvil is unharmed, the hammers gone.”
—Attributed to John Clifford