There is a definite spirit of intolerance over the country of Bangladesh at the moment regarding speaking out against Islam.
Niloy Neel was murdered in his home for having the temerity to question Islam on his Blog.
Let me be clear: While Niloy was an atheist of Hindu background and I am a Christian and this is a Christian Blog, I grieve for his death. All Christians should.
In case I've not made it clear on this blog in the past, I'll say it now: Eagle's Wing Ministries is here to promote Christianity as the only path to God, and as such demonstrate that only by Jesus can we be reconciled with God our Father.
In "A Grief Observed", CS Lewis says "You never know how much you really believe anything until its truth or falsehood becomes a matter of life and death to you." Christianity is something we must be prepared to defend with our very lives if needed. There is only one correct solution to a mathematical puzzle. Other methods may get an answer that is close, but close and correct are very different concepts.
Islam is close to the Truth, but it misses the mark. It produces many good, moral men. I have often done business with Muslim professionals on a handshake because they will not renege on a deal for the sake of Allah. When I do business with a Christian I usually feel I need to get the agreement in writing. There's something wrong there, but it's the way it is.
I believe Mohammed was a false prophet. As a Christian I cannot do anything else. His teachings, however moral, still lead away from God.
I reject atheism as a life-choice. Again I quote CS Lewis: "Atheists express their rage against God although in their view He does not exist." Why spend so much time and energy trying to convince me I'm wrong about God's existence if my belief makes me a nobler human being, a more compassionate one than I might otherwise have been? Most Christians I know seek to help others sacrificially on their part. They open soup kitchens to feed the homeless. They open shelters to house the needy. I'm not saying no atheists do these things, but in my experience they are the exception historically.
I applaud Niloy for his stance. He championed causes I would champion. He fought for equal rights and upliftment of women and minorities, and the right to free speech.
And men claiming to be "religious" murdered him, doing their god's bidding.
In the Bible this happened. The Israelites were led astray by belief in Moloch, a devil masquerading as a god who demanded the murder of children. Flash forward to today and you'll see ISIS sending out children as suicide bombers.
Now more than ever as Christians we need to have courage to speak out for our Faith in our Lord. We need to show tolerance and patience to those who have yet to believe in Jesus as their Saviour. Just as Jesus Himself did.
Nobody cannot be saved through the Love of Christ unless they choose to not accept it. The murders in the middle East right now are simply another attack of the Enemy on our conscience and a distraction designed to strike fear into the hearts of believers. They target Christian areas and towns where Christians have lived for 2000 years, displacing them and seeking to eradicate our Lord from "their" land.
The lines have been drawn in the sand - literally. But we need to step across the line. It was drawn by a false god's followers. Just like the Romans, ISIS will fall and the remnant will return. Nothing to stand against Christ's Good News in 2000 years has endured.
Through prayer and action, that will not change now.
Pray for the Middle East, Syria, Iraq and all those brothers and sisters displaced by these terrorists
Pray for Courage to give them strength in their struggle, and tolerance to allow them to live out the commandment to love our enemies.
Above all, pray for those writers, journalists and bloggers alike, who are prepared to risk their very lives to speak out against the injustices in their countries.
I don't usually do this, but I ask you to pray this prayer with me:
Lord Jesus: You know the hearts and minds of men. Strengthen the pastors and teachers in these oppressed areas under such terrible persecution from false gods and their worshipers. Give them the courage to speak your word in what they write and to whomever they speak. Give them your wisdom to soothe the wounds caused by the hatred stirred up in these troubled times.
Lead the hearts of the accusers to seek Truth from those they persecute as you did with St Paul on the Damascus Road. Let these violent men become warriors for your cause in heart, word and action. Change their hearts and cause the lies of the enemy to be silenced so they can hear your beautiful voice telling them "this is the way - walk in it" and recognise your Truth.
In Jesus' Name