Just a couple of weeks ago the above graphic appeared on the main scroll of Facebook. It is a tongue-in-cheek psychological test on your anxieties or negative thought processes that goes on in your mind. The object that I first saw in the picture was an apple cut in half, although I could see that there was something not right about it and as such, I would hesitate to take a bite.
It was when I took a closer look that I began to notice that the cut face of the fruit is actually a butterfly or moth, with the pips arranged to resemble an anxious face gazing apprehensively at a maggot crawling on a knife which had just bisected the apple. The answer to the accompanying question - what was the first thing I saw in the picture? - it was the cut apple itself. And the result? I was afraid of death, particularly among others. That was my given analysis.
As already mentioned, the test was tongue-in-cheek, most likely a data list of psychological analysis, of which any one could have been selected at pure random by the computer, very much the same as the daily horoscope readings are selected before publishing in a daily newspaper or weekly magazine. But in this case my analysis from answering one question from a given list proved to be 100% spot on! Fear of death has dominated my thinking process, after being warned of eternal Hell as a young boy by my mother whenever I said or did something amiss. So belief in the afterlife helped mould my thinking process - to the stage of hating God by the time I've reached teenage years.
It was after conversion to Jesus Christ when I was twenty years old that I developed a concern about other people's eternal fate, particularly my family and friends. For example, my late father was only a nominal Roman Catholic, who himself admitted his agnosticism, although he never denied the existence of God in the way I did. Yet thinking of where he might be now - if he is conscious - sends me into feelings of helplessness, despondency, even fear. According to my experience, awareness of death has put everything in life into proper perspective. Just as King Solomon concluded in his Old Testament book Ecclesiastes. Life is vanity, chasing after the wind, and rich man, poor man, along with the lowest worm, the same fate awaits us all.
So it happened to a teenage Muslim jihadist I read about in the paper earlier this week. He was forced by his commanders to drive into an enemy village and detonate a bomb that was planted in the vehicle he was driving. He knew too well that he had no other choice. Had he refused, his comrades would have either dished out severe punishment or the death penalty. Likewise if he had driven off in an attempt to escape. As it was, he was given the privilege to die with full honour, with the promise of Heaven. Instead, the unwilling suicide bomber burst into tears with terror. Supposing this Allah, to whom he was about to sacrifice his own life, was non-existent, and all he had was a false ticket to Heaven? Yes, what then? This might have been the reality which struck him at that vital moment. The terror of eternal Hell, taught throughout Islam as well as in Christianity.
|A teenage jihadist's final moments of terror.|
As I read the forum of comments trailing the online article, I felt rather shocked by the brutal lack of sympathy expressed by us British readers. Statements such as "One less terrorist", "Burn in Hell", "It's Hell for you", and even "At least you won't set foot here, a Christian country." So the plethora of cruel statements fill the ever expanding column with not a hint of compassion directed at the lad's feelings. Hatred of the Muslims by a nation which claims to be Christian. Indeed. Then again, the entire philosophy behind Islam is built on a very truculent and unreliable deity.
Muslims believer that Allah is the very God of Abraham, with his eldest son and their own ancestor, Ishmael. They also reluctantly acknowledge Ishmael's younger brother Isaac, and his son Jacob, the father of the Jews. They accept that the children of Israel were called by God to be his own people. But over the centuries of continual disobedience and unfaithfulness, God decided to throw out the Jews and replace them with a new group, the Church, But soon after the Church was established, it too fell into apostasy and unfaithfulness, according to Mohammed. By the seventh Century AD, God - who to the Muslims had always borne the name of Allah, throws out the Church, and through this prophet, a new religion was established, a faith which had its ancestry in Ishmael. Of all the 360 idols standing within a pagan temple in Mecca, only one remained standing after all the others were destroyed under the prophet's orders. That was the moon deity which bears Allah's name.
I sincerely believe that such a fickle deity as Allah is the driving force behind jihad and national and international terrorism. I don't think jihad stems from a misinterpretation of a few verses in the Koran. Rather it's the fear that if they don't live up to Allah's expectations, they too will be thrown out by their deity and some other group would take over. And why not? What guarantee is there for their security if their god has a record of disowning those he claimed were his yet were disobedient or lacked commitment? I believe it is this fear of disenfranchisement that motivates Muslims to fight their jihad. And furthermore, to gather en-mass to the holy site in Mecca. Here, vast crowds of Muslim pilgrims chant to their deity out of fear rather than a love for Allah. As long as Allah remains pacified, he will not cast them off like he did with Israel and the Church.
|Vast crowds of pilgrims at Mecca|
Vast crowds gather to worship a deity, a pagan one at that, out for fear of being cast off. It makes me wonder how just by being born at a certain area virtually guarantees slavery to such a system. But Islam is not the only religion, further east there are two more prominent faiths, Hindu and Buddhism. At least with those two, we do not hear of jihad-type "holy wars" to convert the outsider, or die. Could this be that because these two faiths are very ancient, Hindu in particular, predating centuries before Christ? And therefore they don't worship a god known for disowning his people? Who knows? That is only my speculation. As with the Islamic jihads. But this one thing underlies all these faiths. That is, every individual is born innocent, grows up to learn about the religion of the land, spends his life in worship of such deities, then dies without hearing about the love of the true God through faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ the Son of God. I think of these things. Millions born in the large part of the world who grow up without any knowledge of Jesus Christ.
And why does this touch a nerve in my heart? Could it be because the apostle Peter made this plain statement:
Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.
So it stands to reason that all Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and all other faiths not acknowledging Jesus Christ leads to death, simply because life comes from Christ alone, as the apostle John has written, that in him, Jesus, was life, and that life was the light of all men (John 1:4). This is where I find everything concerning this matter so hard to swallow. Christ died and through his resurrection, atoned for the sins of the whole world, thus reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them (2 Corinthians 5:19). Yet to this day much of the world remains in ignorance. Just how effective was the Atonement? Yet we read that the light of Christ shines into every man ever born. Even nature itself testify of creation. I stood at the bottom of the Grand Canyon one night in 1995. The display of stars overhead was astounding! Never in my life in the UK have I seen such glorious heavenly splendour. The threefold testimony of Revelation, Nature, and Consciousness are three witness for the existence of God. And even Revelation itself seem to be threefold - the Bible, the presence of the churches, and the restoration of Israel as a sovereign nation.
Although both the Middle East and the Far East regions of our planet seems to be shrouded in darkness, for us to call ourselves "a Christian nation" seems to be equally deceptive. True enough, our Constitution is founded on Christian principles. For an example, in the Law Courts, a witness swears to tell the truth by holding a Bible. But all these things don't make us a nation of true believers. Instead, I have found that the majority of British people do not know the love of Christ. In my mind I believe that Darwinism has played a major role towards mass unbelief. Nowadays, the revelation of divine creation in six literal 24-hour days followed by a day of rest on the seventh is held as ridiculous, and it is considered that no scientist worth his salt, or anyone with an ounce of common sense would even consider such revelations as historical. Yet the existence of our weekends and Sabbath days in other countries, along with the global institution of marriage, together with our Constitution and those of many other lands, all testify to the historicity of the Bible.
No other science discipline has been so controversial as Natural Evolution and Historical Geology, the latter being the works of Scotsman Charles Lyell, on which Englishman Charles Darwin based his own works of Evolution. On these two authors, considered brilliant in the academic world, the truthfulness of the Gospel is denied, as it stands to reason that without the historicity of Divine Creation, the reality of sin, atonement, and judgement have no place in rational thinking. And so, as we advance in knowledge and civilisation, this same knowledge, I think, holds responsibility for our spiritual and moral decline, with more and more stepping off this planet into a lost eternity. Tragic!
Is there something in the air? An entity who is behind all this darkness, and blinding people from the truth of the Gospel? Perhaps the answer is found in 2 Corinthians 4:4, that the god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so they cannot see the light of the Gospel of the glory of Christ. And also of Ephesians 2:2, when every one of us was under the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit at work in those who are disobedient (of the command to receive the Gospel).
It is a terrifying concept, especially to the ones you love most. After all, I wonder how the mother of the Islamic teenager, unwillingly forced to blow himself up, must have really felt? Especially as she remembers holding him as a newborn in her arms.