Waiting and waiting

I am still waiting for the final steps in the process of being approved permanently for tax-exempt status to take place. The foundation is exempt at this time, but certain paperwork must be submitted which is now in the hands of our accountant. It could take a few more months to be finalized, depending upon how many questions the government has to ask, Bear with us and pray for speedy approval. In the meantime, I will continue to make occasional posts.

PALESTINIAN STATEHOOD: VICTORY OR DISGRACE?

Although advances of the modern age have provided mankind with numerous conveniences, the state of human nature does not seem to have kept pace with technology. Barbarism flourishes. Abominations abound. Mankind is largely residing in a low sink of immorality, love of violence and inhumanity, and reverse cultural progress.

After more than 60 centuries of failed attempts at self-rule, countless atrocities, endless invasions and counter-invasions, and genocides that have resulted in the massacre of hundreds of millions, it is doubtful whether any marginally sane person could with a straight face claim that any group of people deserves a state. However, given the perpetuation of the human form of government, we are forced to consider the question of whether a particular group of people now deserves to be rewarded with elevation in the world of international politics by having their request for an independent state approved by the international community.

Begin the consideration of this question by establishing a list of a few of the qualities that the international community deems desirable for states to emulate. Numerous conventions exist that define certain of these qualities, as well as certain limitations that the international community wishes to be placed on the behaviors of governments and those who serve them. Turn, for example, to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, produced by the United Nations in 1948. Let’s look at a few of the articles of that international convention.

‘Article 1. All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.’ [SOURCE: http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/]

Now, although one could dispute whether all humans are born with reason and conscience, at least we can all appreciate the encouragement to act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood. But unfortunately, the last sentence is fallacious, since we do not all appreciate the encouragement to act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood. In fact, the opposite is true of a group of Palestinians who have been in control of the Gaza Strip since 2005.

Proof of the allegation that was just made is to be found in Article 7 of the Hamas Charter. Hamas is the Palestinian faction now ruling the Gaza Strip, who were also elected as a majority of the Palestinian legislature by the Palestinian people. Article 7 says the following,

‘…the Islamic Resistance Movement aspires to the realisation of Allah’s promise, no matter how long that should take. The Prophet, Allah bless him and grant him salvation, has said:

“The Day of Judgement will not come about until Muslims fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Muslims, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him. Only the Gharkad tree, would not do that because it is one of the trees of the Jews.” (related by al-Bukhari and Muslim).’ [SOURCE: http://mideastweb.org/hamas.htm]

So, as you can see from their own words, the rulers of Gaza, who also form a majority in the Palestinian legislature, look forward to killing Jews, which they say is a worthy goal received from Mohammad. This goal is antithetical to the values stated in Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

It bears noting that the second paragraph of the Hamas Charter memorializes a statement made by an Islamic martyr, apparently highlighted there to clarify the goal of Hamas. It is as follows:

‘Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it” (The Martyr, Imam Hassan al-Banna, of blessed memory).’ [SOURCE: http://mideastweb.org/hamas.htm]

But if this were not sufficient to demonstrate the ultimate goal of Hamas, Article 13 of the Hamas Charter states this:

‘There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors.’ [SOURCE: http://mideastweb.org/hamas.htm]

As can be readily discerned from this statement, Hamas has no interest whatsoever in seeking peace with Israel. Jihad is the path they have chosen. The Universal Declaration of Human rights, on the other hand, encourages acting towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

Article 28 of the declaration also states as follows:

‘Article 28. Everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be fully realized.’ [SOURCE: http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/]

The Hamas Charter, as we have seen, despises this international convention, instead calling for genocide of the Jews.

The Universal Declaration also states this:

‘Article 30. Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein.'[SOURCE: http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/]

However, as the Hamas Charter clarifies, which is highly valued by supporters of Hamas, Mohammad himself taught them to kill Jews. So as we see, there is a clear dichotomy between what the international community expects in terms of international norms of conduct and what the Palestinian charter exposes as being their completely different standard, one in clear opposition to peace and harmony.

Now some may say that Hamas is only one faction of Palestinians (which is true), while other Palestinians are willing to make peace with Israel. However, do not overlook that although Hamas rules only Gaza, and not West Bank, the Palestinian people elected Hamas members into a majority in the Palestinian legislature, either in spite of or due to the official policies of Hamas on the destruction of Israel.

And another factor to consider is that according to a recent poll conducted in 2011 on Palestinian views, 43% of the participants support continued armed attacks against Israeli civilians. Such a reality would seem to indicate that almost half of the Palestinian people have no interest in peace with Israel. [SOURCE:http://www.pcpsr.org/survey/polls/2009/p31ejoint.html]

(In case any doubt exists regarding the veracity of this assertion, you may contact the Palestinian pollsters directly at pcpsr@pcpsr.org. Or you may telephone them and request to speak with PSR director, Dr. Khalil Shikaki or Walid Ladadweh, at tel. 02-2964933.)

So far we have compiled a very short list of norms approved by the international community that are not adhered to or respected by Palestinians. Yet they are such basic norms that, when disrespected by a people, must color them with an unattractive stain of barbarism. It is inevitable that a people, who reject embracing brotherhood, peace and respect of basic rights, be seen by others as less than worthy. And when such a people reject such things, almost all other people might be seen as morally superior to them.

It may be argued that such a people, despite their peculiar moral standards and violent objectives still deserve a state of their own, to which the question might be posed in reply: On what basis? The world is already replete with countless people who support barbarity and destruction, while international organizations, such as the United Nations, claim to strive for adherence to international conventions such as the few we have considered. What possible justification could there possibly be for approving for statehood a people who now seek statehood, while simultaneously revealing in their published official agendas that they despise the conventions that most of the rest of humanity claims to value as worthy standards by which to govern themselves?

What is to be gained by appeasing a people who reject norms of peaceful co-existence? By elevating Palestinian status to one of statehood, would not the world be announcing that the standards it has henceforth negotiated and promoted are little more than a farce?

Becoming approved for statehood would hardly be a material victory for the Palestinian people, in any case, as until the day that they renounce their official goals of genocide, ethnic cleansing, apartheid, and acquisition of foreign territory through armed aggression, the Israelis will not remove the occupation that was imposed on the Palestinians in 1967, the purpose of which has been to prevent the Palestinians from carrying out their stated goals.

And while the elevation to statehood would not represent a material victory for the people of Palestine, failing to improve their lives in any meaningful sense, it would represent a disgraceful capitulation by the world at large that would practically have announced, by approving statehood for Palestine, that the goals for a better world have been abandoned, in favor of freefall into insanity.

Are Christians Saved?

Although I have been Christian for some time, about a year ago I read once again the 25th chapter of Matthew, which made an impression on me that previously it had not. In the chapter, Jesus Christ offers some definition about who are sheep and who are goats, goats being the ones who are destroyed on Christ’s return.

Before continuing with the discussion, please read Matthew 25:31-46:

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne.32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.

46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.

As far as I can see, these words send a clear message. The message is that if we do not do as Christ said, our end will be disaster. This seems to clash with what many Christians believe with respect to salvation, that faith alone saves us. Christ says in this text that obedience saves us. It reinforces or is compatible with what Christ taught in Matthew 7:21-27:

21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!

24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”

Of course, it is clear that we do not save ourselves, but are saved by grace through faith. But the words of Jesus Christ cannot be obviated. He says we must do what he says, or otherwise we will end in disaster. There is no way for a Christian to deny or dispute this.

And yet, many Christians do dispute this. When I show them these statements of Christ, they have accused me of meaning to establish a works-based salvation, as they put it. They do headstands and somersaults in an attempt to prove that Christ does not mean what he means.

I do not understand what their motive could be for disputing the words of Christ. But it seems to me that many Christians are not saved at all, and that they are heading for disaster, not for salvation.

How do you get through to this kind of Christian? Is there a way to convince them to take Christ seriously?