Big Questions Section
This section includes answers to some big questions. We don’t claim to have the answers (only God has all the answers!) But we hope and pray this helps you and the young people you work with. These are not definitive and you may way disagree or be able to add more, but they hopefully act as an inspiration or starting point.
There are 18 questions answered as of April 2016. We must also credit “When Skeptics Ask” by Norman Geisler and “Cosmic Codes” by Chuck Missler, “It makes sense” by Stephen Gaukroger and the website http://carm.org/ (Christian Research and Apologetics Ministry). We’ve tried our very best to give easy answers to the questions and then more advanced / detailed answers and even further study.
Christians are not terrorists or extremists, despite what some people what to think. You will struggle to find any Christians doing any acts of terrorism. When people compare Christians to (for example extremist Islamists), you will find that the Christian might say they believe something in the Bible which society disagrees with (and then get called an extremist). Meanwhile there are terrorists around the world that are murdering 1000s of people each year (intentionally including many Christians) and are rightly called extremists!
We should be very careful not to create or feed any hatred towards our Muslim friends around us. We must stand against any hatred shown towards Muslims – this is wrong and can push people towards a more radical attitude. Instead, we should show God’s love and mercy and truth to all people – even our enemies like those atheists who say very spiteful and hateful things towards us. It’s amazing how many Christians have been killed, injured, lost family members, lost property but have publicly forgiven their attackers. This is the love of Jesus in action and is the only ‘extremist’ thing we Christians should be accused of !!
We should be known for our radical love in a world full of selfishness and radical hate!
One of the differences between true Bible-believing Christians and terrorists is that God has called us to die to selfishness in order to live live to bring life – whereas a terrorist lives totally selfishly and lives in order to die and bring death.
One of the things said about Christians today (especially because of all the acts of Islamist terrorism being committed in the world today) is that there have been and still are Christian ‘extremists’. People are very quick to believe that religion causes terrorism (and that nothing much else does). They then want to point the finger at Christians when some people in the media and world start accusing all Muslims of being terrorists. Clearly not all Muslims are terrorists – let’s be very clear about this! But because some people want to ‘balance things’ when debating about terrorism, they are quick to drag up various random events and then accuse Christians of being extremist. But this is wrong and completely unfair.
Often what people do is drag up various events (and they are hard to find generally) and then label them as ‘Christian’ when clearly they are not Christian in a Biblical sense, or following the teachings of Jesus and the Bible. Examples include a man who blew up state buildings in Oklahoma, USA, the blowing up of (very few) abortion clinics and only in America. Then people love to talk about Northern Ireland, or things that happened in some European countries. They talk about witchcraft and people killed in Britain and the USA for being witches. They even talk about the KKK – a radical racist group in America – or the very weird people that call themselves ‘Westboro Baptist Church’ in America. People also talk about the Spanish Inquisition which happened hundreds of years ago and in which around 1300 people were killed. Then of course, they talk about ‘The Crusades’.
‘The Crusades’. These were a battle between Europe (which wasn’t really Christian in Bible way of doing things, but had become ‘Christian’ in name) and Muslims. The battle was over Jerusalem and the ‘Holy Lands’. In this battle which went on for many years, tens of thousands of Christians, Muslims and Jews were killed. There was killing on both sides and both sides to evil things. There is great debate about what started the Crusades (much of what we see as Islamic land in the Middle East today used to be Christian). But we must also remember that this was in 1095-1291 and that this was also about power and a very different time in world history. This is not happening today, nor would this happen today! This was a state sponsored Christianity, not Biblical Christianity in action! It may have had some right motives (protecting Jerusalem and protecting Christians) but it was expressed in the wrong way. It was also in response to 400 years of violence against Christians and Europe by Islamists.
If we look back to the Crusades, we will realise that Europe was under the control of the state, more than having a personal faith in Jesus. The state decided the form of the expression of the Christian faith – from the time of Emperor Constantine who declared that Christianity was to be the official religion. This is despite that much of what was practiced was a long way from Biblical Christianity (and Constantine was abusively anti-Jewish, again completely contrary to the Christian faith – Jesus is Jewish for example!) Many people in Europe were not able to read and write and they certainly didn’t have the Bible available in a language they could understand. Instead, the faith was dominated by the offical members of the church – who often didn’t even have to be Christians to be involved. It was about power, political office and people working for the church because of family ties and tradition. So what we’re learning is that unlike today (where people have both the Bible and Koran available in a language they can understand) people were controlled by a political expression of Christianity, not a Biblical one. Biblical Christianity is completely different and can’t really be held responsible for this kind of violence. This stands in contrast to today when people have religious texts available and easy to read. So religious violence in the 21st century has no excuse.
One of the amazing things about the Crusades is that there have been many huge and public acts by Christians apologising for the Crusades. They have been around the Middle East saying sorry and asking for forgiveness to both Muslims and Jews, alike. One man that has done this (and carries his cross with him around the world wherever he goes) is called Arthur Blessitt – an incredible guy!
When people talk about latest things that have happened recently, we must also remember that all murder and abuse is completely against God’s heart and the teachings of Jesus. When people talk about recent things, they either have to completely misrepresent Christianity or even when what they say is fair, the numbers are so small it’s like a grain of sand on a beach in comparison to the acts of Islamist terrorism that are increasing rapidly day by day across the world. In comparison, you will be hard-pushed to find any acts of Christian terrorism at all. And it is nothing compared to the terrorism of communist and dictator nations in the world – or even the actions of so-called democratic states!
If you take a moment to explore the so-called acts of Christian extremism, you will find that the people were not Christians at all (for example Timothy McVeigh in Oklahoma or the KKK); they were not following the teachings of the Bible in any way (e.g. people who have killed people who work at abortions clinics, or blown up abortion clinics in the USA). In fact, you’ll find that organisations like the KKK are racist (against Bible teaching), were not formed from out of the Bible, church or Christian teaching and have killed Christians! It grew out of a number of discontented groups, criminals and the odd ‘coercive moral reformer’ – the organisation was and is not Christian. The same is true of things like the Spanish Inquisition – this wasn’t Christians killing people – this was the (at that time) Catholic authorities showing their power by killing people who disagreed with them. When we look at the so-called ‘Westboro Baptist Church’ and their abusive hatred of black people or gay people we’ll find that there is nothing Christian or ‘church’ about who they are or what they do except in their name. The church around the world has condemned them.
Let’s not forget that people were imprisoned and killed here in Britain by the authorities (and in Rome by the secular Emperors – with many Christians being killed in the Coliseum simply for entertainment) because they were Christians or were translating the Bible. This kind of state-sponsored terrorism still exists today in many countries where Christians are persecuted. When Christians were murdered in Rome, the evil Emperor Nero used to put his hands over his ears because the Christians would sing worship songs to God while they were being killed.
If we look around the world today, we see that Islamist terrorism is rapidly on the rise. We can also see that their inspiration (rightly or wrongly) is their interpretation of the Muslim holy book, the Koran. Groups like ISIS want to go back to a form of Islam that is very strict and in their minds very ‘pure’ – by force and by any other means. This stands in stark contrast to Christianity where violence and murder are against the truth about Jesus.
We must never ‘demonise’ Muslims. This is totally wrong and contrary to what Jesus did – he loved people and called them to himself through his forgiveness and because of his goodness, without holding back on the truth about hell. One of the most amazing things happening today is that hundreds of thousands of Muslims are coming to know Jesus because of the actions of radicals and extremists. We should be known for our radical love in a world full of selfishness and radical hate! We should also stand against any attacks or violence against Muslims, protecting them against hatred.
When people talk about Christian extremists, we also need to point them to the life of Jesus and the New Testament of the Bible. Often people drag up the Old Testament examples of where God called down fire on people and cities and destroyed them. But that was a very different time – a time when God had to destroy what was evil (often giving people hundreds of years and chances to change). Today, through Jesus, everyone can be set free from evil to live life as God intended it. Other religions haven’t had Jesus – only Jesus has made a way to create peace between man and God.
We must also look at all the good that Christians are doing all around the world! When you look at the actions of good, of love, of kindness, of compassion, of confronting evil, of working in the dark places, of helping people lost, lonely, hurt and the least – we see that the church is totally unparalleled. The church’s giving towards the poor, the needy, the widow, the refugee, the orphan is way beyond that of any nation – in fact often beyond the combined efforts of many nations! When we think about Christians and who God is – look at the fruit of the lives of Christians!
We can also look around the world today and see that it is Christians who are being persecuted and killed in greater numbers than ever before in history. It is not Christians persecuting others. In secular nations, communist nations, Muslim nations, Hindu nations and Buddhist nations, we find that Christians are being persecuted and killed to a level not experienced by any other religion or group. We even see persecution happening in Western countries. What is very interesting is that some of the things said against Christians are done in very spiteful, hurtful, abusive, hateful and violent ways here in our ‘educated democratic’ Western world. This should tell you where the attacks come from – not from the people themselves but from satan. And people aren’t attacking you – they’re attacking Jesus. Just keep speaking and living God’s truth in love!