About Daniel Shayesteh

Dr Daniel was born into a Muslim family in Northern Iran. He became a radical Muslim leader and teacher of Islam in the militant Free Islamic Revolutionary Movement, closely supporting Ayatollah Khomeini. However, after falling out of favor with Khomeini’s political group, he escaped to Turkey where there began an amazing journey to faith in Jesus Christ.

Daniel's mission is to help others understand and lovingly respond to those who do not know Christ. He is also deeply concerned for the future of Western societies, their loss of confidence in Judeo-Christian values, and their persistent naivete about the implications of the world-wide Islamic revival.

Jesus Came to Reconcile the World to God

Two persons or parties cannot truly unite with one another if they are not of the same mind and heart. Also a true unity does not take place unless priority is given to the values that guarantee a long-lasting relationship. Unity with God also is not exempt from this principle. It is impossible for a person who is spiritually chained to the kingdom of sin, to unite with God, who is absolutely against sin by nature, unless that person allows his/her spiritual citizenship to become godly. This is what the true meaning and mission of Christmas should be since it is predominantly regarded as a season of celebration for the Birth of Jesus Christ. The revelation of Jesus Christ is to release people from the kingdom of Satan and establish them in the Kingdom of God. When we understand the way this transition takes place and when we allow this Redeemer to unite us with God, then we are with God and part of His community and plan, as the Gospel says:
But as many as received Him, He gave to them authority to become the children of God, to those who believe on His name. (John 1:12, MKJV)
Those who receive Christ and allow Him to set their minds and hearts in heaven are enabled to grasp the true meaning of Christmas, the Birth of Christ. This is because they have accepted the revelation of God in Christ and are thereby honored by God who declares them members of His own kingdom and household; His co-workers and children. (Ephesians 2) They now carry the citizenship of God’s Kingdom with God’s extraordinary reverence and have the right to be the spokesmen and women of God. They are authorized to represent God as His ambassadors and reveal His Kingdom values to those who do not know Him and haven’t received Him yet.
Therefore, the object of Christmas, in its true meaning, is to reveal that God stepped into life on earth in order to carry out His plan for long-lasting reconciliation and unity. Man’s mind and heart function conditionally and as a result produce conditional and relative reconciliation which can be breached anytime conditions necessitate. But God’s mind and heart are based on unconditional love which makes the harmony enduring from the beginning to the end. 
The unconditional love of God is His greatest Christmas gift to humanity. It is the greatest because while people were in bondage to Satan, God’s enemy, and did not deserve His love and forgiveness, He took a sacrificial step, paid an astonishing price in order to redeem people from the bondage of Satan and reconcile them to Himself. As the Gospel says:
For God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but so that the world might be saved through Him. (John 3:16-17)
With this sacrifice, God gives His eternal love and compassion as free gifts to His own enemies (Romans 5:8) in order to open their eyes to the truth, redeem them from spiritual death and hopelessness and establish them in eternal life, peace and joy. Through this sacrificial initiative, God also reveals the doctrinal differences between His concept and the worldly concepts so that people can understand the object of His revelation in Jesus Christ and avoid blind obedience. As the Gospel says:
And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. (John 8:32, MKJV)
No matter who started the Christmas celebration, whether or not they were authorized by God to start such a celebration for the Birth of Christ or whether the day of Christmas matches the actual Birthday of Jesus Christ or not, the majority have accepted that Christmas is about the Birth of Jesus Christ. If this is the case now, it then should be a time of receiving and representing Jesus Christ and a season of experiencing the eternal joy of reconciliation with God.
God is not against people’s gifts to one another and their generosity towards needy people at Christmas time. But more than anything else, He loves the true message of Christmas being revealed to people through our gifts and through every other thing we do. For this reason, we need to allow our presents and happiness to function inside the frame-work of God’s plan for the salvation of the world. 
God revealed Himself in Jesus Christ to change us so that we can adapt ourselves to His way of life in order to have enduring peace in ourselves, in our relationships with one another and with God. God did not give His only begotten Son for the sake of our worldly and short-lived pleasures. The world’s pleasure is a self or a group oriented pleasure which can become the cause of misery for many. Aren’t thousands of wandering refugees in the Middle East the result of a self-oriented pleasure and preference? God’s pleasure is different from this worldly pleasure. Worldly pleasure is without Christ, alienated from the heart of God and does not focus on the purposes of life. This is because it is not from God and therefore cannot be the object of true life. God’s pleasure instead is to save and shield people from extremists and to give purpose to their lives. God is like the shepherd who attends his flocks sacrificially and delights in them. God rejoices over preparing His followers to become like Him and be blessings to one another.
Let us therefore please the heart of our God and practically prove to people that Christmas is about the incarnation of God in Jesus Christ. He revealed Himself in Jesus to give us a heavenly identity so that we could put Jesus at the center of our lives and make His expectations our priorities. He expects us to be functional with our new heavenly identity on earth and proclaim to our children, grandchildren, surroundings and to the world that His Birth declares the everlasting love of the God of the universe to His creatures so that they can have long-lasting fellowship with God, rejoice in peace and unity with Him and one another eternally.

Freedom Necessitates Evaluation

Freedom cannot flourish in a society or survive without analyzing the merits of beliefs and values and without standing for the best out of all of them. Indeed, we can only demonstrate our freedom when our freedom of choice is esteemed in our societies and we are in no way under pressure to follow things blindly. In a free society, people have individual space to practice their autonomy and to put their analyzing power into practice. This helps them to make healthy decisions and to have meaningful lives based on good and rational reasons. 

Nothing should bother people's freedom of choice. This is essential if they are morally expected to be responsible for their attitudes and actions in a society. If regulations are made to limit the exercising of free will for evaluation or choice, then it rids people of any social responsibility. In other words, if the law limits me in my ability to think before I act, then I cannot be held responsible for my actions since I was forbidden to analyze and anticipate the consequences. 
So we see how vital it is for us to approach life with open minds and hearts, making a willful decision for whatever we want to choose or follow.  That’s why the Gospel of Christ asks Christians not to follow Christ blindly, but to be prepared and to give reasons for following Christ:
…. always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect. (1Peter 3.15, ESV)
Living in a society, either with diversity or uniformity, makes us responsible to give reasons for the values we follow. Every follower of Christ is asked to give reasons for the establishment of his/her hope in Christ. These reasons reveal the life quality of Christ in every aspect of life either philosophically, doctrinally, politically, socially, economically or ethically. Unlike  all other beliefs and philosophies, the life in Christ is not compatible with vagueness. It is based on the knowledge of the truth which allows the truth to flourish in every sphere of life, creating freedom. This freedom in turn becomes the motivating factor in our lives to protect freedom. We do this through the exercising of our minds, hearts and consciences in all circumstances, and also in our relationships with others, friends or strangers alike, in order to educate or strengthen them to do the same. This creates openness so that people become interested in reading the chapters’ of each other’s lives and in searching for the best together.
This dynamic culture of Christianity was amiably welcomed by many organizations in the West after the protestant movement, and it played a significant role in making western organizations creative, productive and successful. It brought all employees together, no matter what their ranks and backgrounds, so that they could share the result of their investigations, experiences and knowledge with each other. This helped them to discover the best means for better and higher quality performance. The Gospel of Christ states that the members of one body are all equally significant and function in harmony. Western organizations also applied this principle so that their ‘members’ function in harmony in every aspect. They established the Benchmark and brought all, from the lower level worker to the chief executive officers, together in order to erase barriers so as to operate as a unified organizational body.  
It is amazing that this Christian principle has now become an inevitable part of the organizational culture in most successful businesses in the West (and in the world). Many of our contemporary business leaders and managers reject Christianity on the surface. But underneath they have allowed Christian participative leadership, relational values and work ethics to become the pillars of their organizational cultures. This has made for substantial success despite the challenges of competition. Very few of these leaders and managers want to compromise this Culture of Success with political correctness, multiculturalism and relativism since the result of compromise will be huge losses for them. We saw how some financial institutions in the West were deceived by Islamists and opened their doors to the Islamic Sharia Finance, but soon some realized the stagnant nature of Islamic economic principles which focuses on the interests of its adherents only. Some of them abandoned the Sharia culture and went back to their already dynamic Christian practices and values. 
My aim in saying this is to say that most leaders of successful businesses act as hypocrites and contrary to the practices of Christian values and ethics when involved in educational institutions and governmental organizations. They turn their backs on the same values that are the fundamental factors for success in their own organizations. Because of political correctness, they are unable to or do not want to understand the fact that their countries will go bankrupt and fail immeasurably if they do not support the practice of the same Christian principles for their own countries too. They are not far-sighted enough to see that the the biblical culture is woven into their organizational cultures, and their organizational life is a part of their countries’ economic life too. If their countries fail, their businesses will fail too. If they support governments and educational centers who turn their back on Christian values, the anti-Christian government’s norms will also, sooner or later, affect their own organizations negatively. In the same way, the universities’ anti-Christian graduates will also, sooner or later, become their employees and become a threat to their successful organizational cultures. Then it will be too late and difficult for them to defend their rights and to fight against the established rules, regulations and individuals who are out to erase their means of progress.
We see how subtly dualism and short-sightedness have occupied the atmosphere of the West now and do not allow people to pursue a meaningful life. Communities are forced to leave investigation, evaluation, discussion and healthy decision-making behind, bowing down to a failing culture of ignorance and indifference which progressively narrows their freedom and enslaves them to a complete totalitarianism. People’s growing dependence on this worsening culture is stealing their respect of Christ’s beliefs and values, subtly leading them to a future which will be the end of their freedom and civilization. We have lost our freedom in universities, schools and governmental offices; we will do the same soon in our worship places and homes too.
Freedom cannot function if people’s minds, hearts and consciences are restricted by governmental and school regulations. Individual autonomy for investigation, comparison, debating, rejecting or accepting is the sacred right in each person’s life and the landmark for protecting freedom. Any invasion of this sacred autonomy is the failure of freedom. 
The doctrine of Christ has proven itself practically to be the only cause and power of freedom in the West.  People need to be encouraged to relentlessly investigate this and to see how powerful and effective the values of Christ are for the establishment of freedom.  It is a violation of human rights if people are limited in their ability to investigate and discover the means for their freedom. It is our urgent responsibility, therefore, to wake up people to realize that understanding is the key for having freedom:
You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. (John 8:32, ESV)

Subtly Confined and Consumed

I remember how we young Iranians based our allegiance blindly on Ayatollah Khomeini’s verbal claim that Islam would fill in all of the inconsistencies in our society and take us to democracy. His comment exploited a major blind spot of the younger generation at that time in Iran; we who yearned for democracy, yet did not know that the very heart of Islam is incompatible with democracy. Ayatollah Khomeini’s proclamation of democracy was indeed a seductive ploy for him and his committed mullahs to reach for power and in fact entirely block the road to democracy. As a result, we became our own enemies by surrendering ourselves and our country to Ayatollah Khomeini who later made our own motherland a prison for us. For those of us who were able to run away from Iran and take shelter in the West it is truly heartbreaking and worrying to see that aggressive ideologues of the West are deceiving people with similar forms of socio-political pretenses, aiming to blind our societies, grasp long awaited authoritarianism and destroy the freedom we have. We never imagined seeing this in the West before our migration. Through my doctoral study, I had already discovered the uniqueness of Christian values and how its dynamic, considerate and creative leadership style was able to equip Western citizens to manifest the most successful lifestyle on earth.  This gave us a vision for our migration to the West and a hope that the West would certainly have something strong to bind us new-comers to its existing citizens and them to us so that together we could value freedom, integrate and do whatever we could to protect our new country from potential threats. 
Instead, we are shocked to see how far astray the West has gone, undermining its golden values and welcoming the values of foreign models that have long gone bankrupt in their respective lands. In particular, multiculturalism has given rise to the paradoxical dilemma of constraining certain discussion and expression with the straight jacket of political correctness, while giving free expression and liberty to anti-Christian sentiments. To mock, despise and discredit the Judea-Christian foundation of Western culture and society has become the popular discourse while subtly and naively these anti-Christians display tolerance toward insolvent cultures which erode freedom and fairness. Now many westerners, particularly a large number of young people, have fallen into traps of aggression and thereby find themselves bullying Christianity without knowing that their actions have been selling out their own freedom to the home-spun presentations of the self-styled guardians in the West. Amazingly, these people call themselves the promoters of freedom without realizing that they have been seduced, exploited and consumed for the destruction of freedom. They are unaware that their minds have become restrained with beliefs and patterns which are not compatible with freedom. 
What will the future be for a society that is highly exposed to such unawareness and incomprehension? The old proverb says:
The man that wandereth out of the way of understanding shall remain in the congregation of the dead. (Proverb 21:16, KJV)
Lack of understanding confines people and makes them passive, unresponsive and irresponsible. That’s why the Bible equates the lack of understanding with death. Understanding is a gateway to freedom. Jesus said:
You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. (John 8:32, MKJV)
Neglecting the significance of understanding, following leaders and beliefs blindly, walking in their ways irrationally and sightlessly are roadblocks to freedom. This is what is happening in our societies and many of our contemporaries are acting as barricades to freedom. They are wrapped in perplexity, made slaves to the indefinite calls of opportunists and thereby are unable to walk in the path of freedom and live victoriously. It is true when the Bible says:
If the trumpet gives an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself for the battle? (1 Corinthians 14:8)
Can uncertainty wake people, bind them together as a nation, give them a reasonable vision and authorize them with strength to win the battles that threaten their existence and freedom? No. Only clarity and understanding can build up souls in truth so that they can understand who they are, why they are on earth and in which direction they need to walk. 
There is no doubt that many of our people are deceived and abused. It is our responsibility to inform them in any way possible so that they can free themselves from following false examples. There have always been people throughout history who loved their own personal aspirations more than the interest of their nations. There have also been courageous people who tirelessly informed others and fought for the protection of their nations’ freedom. The liberty we have in the West has not come to us accidentally. Lives were burned by selfish leaders in the squares of the West for their courage in protecting their nations’ liberty. With their sacrifices, they taught their generations that leaders may ignore their own personal rights, but they may not turn their back on the rights of their nations. These children of freedom could not sit idle and allow egocentric leaders to sacrifice the rights of people to their own individual interests. We need to follow their examples. Ignoring the interests of our nation is like turning our back on our own families since our families make up our nations. 

We need to follow the standard of Jesus Christ. He knew that it was costly to love the world and engage people in avoiding blind obedience but recruiting them to discover the truth. Yet He paid the price and fulfilled His love for the world. This is what we need to do if we truly love people and long for them to become free. 

Disharmony Among Leaders' Beliefs, Plans and Actions

In recent decades we have witnessed frequently a high degree of disharmony in the plans of many leaders from civilised countries.  They have not only been contradicting each other, but some of their plans have been sharply resisting others' plans as well. Imagine the destiny of a community whose leaders are ill equipped, resisting their own leadership style with contradictory plans and approaches. What can then be expected to happen in the midst of their community? It is obvious that a spirit of conflict and rivalry will prevail. Harmony and peace will be dismissed and the means of discord and polarisation will dominate. 
We all know what happens in countries with dictatorships, how leaders put themselves at the center of everything and force people to take their side. Even leaders in some western countries have been imposing themselves on their citizens and coercing them to take a position without testing the validity or truth of that view. Leadership has become more like emotional or political propaganda that compels people to join a party or group without a clear picture of the end result of their case. Not many of our contemporary leaders are interested in facing the real issues of our time and investing in discovering real remedies for problems. Their plans are nothing but fantasies and their approaches nothing but punching air. They love to spend their time on superficial things just to keep people emotionally engaged. A classic example would be how much concern and discussion was aired by some US leaders over whether there should be free access to opposite gender toilets!
When a leader is ill-equipped or unable to address the real needs of his people the result is confusion and no solid majority standard. A leader without a sound and stable moral code is more difficult to hold accountable to their own integrity. Unfortunately, many leaders in the West have disassociated themselves from Christian morality. Instead, they operate according to a fluid, relativist morality and rule randomly, thereby justifying whatever the consequences of their leadership decisions may be.
Such an unpredictable leadership will be the cause of divisions, indifference, discord, disloyalties, ethnic rivalry, discrimination, hatred, violence and wickedness. These evils will penetrate every sphere of national culture, progressively turning it into a culture of death and, in this way, blocking the path to unity and peace. No society can become healthy with such an erratic leadership that paves the way for doing evil.
One confusion that seems to dominate among our contemporary leaders is around Globalization and Multiculturalism. These are two popular ideologies that are, in practice, in conflict with one another. On one hand, leaders claim to be committed to a ‘global’ doctrine for political and economic co-operation.  On the other hand, internally, they proclaim the sovereignty of the doctrine of ‘multiculturalism’, in which full freedom is given to each individual culture to run its own course. This is argued on the grounds of the belief that sectarianism must be avoided at all costs. 
Think about the war against Climate Change by Western leaders. They have been marching ahead to obligate all nations and people groups to follow their particular climate-friendly agenda. But at the same time the same leaders have not only been defending the establishment of Islam in the West, but also have allowed huge amounts of taxpayers’ dollars to be invested for the formation of this religion’s Sharia. Unfortunately Sharia does not want non-Muslims to breath fresh air, but wants them to be suffocated for simply not joining Islam!
How many millions of dollars have been invested in the last three decades by Western leaders to get their environmental agenda embraced worldwide? It’s huge! These so-called civilized Western leaders have been trying to influence the minds of the leaders of developing and underdeveloped countries to introduce greater openness and dynamism into their closed cultures by getting them to start protecting their domestic environment for the benefit of the entire world’s population. Their messages about Climate Change tell us, though only theoretically, that we are now living in a global village where the self-centeredness of a group or of developing nations will be a cost to others. On this basis they argue that these developing nations should not use technology in a selfish way and at the cost of others’ rights and well-being. But alas, we wish the leaders in the West would be just as candid about the importance of 'worldview' in their approach to the leaders of developing nations. This might help these leaders to better understand the significance of the relationship between cultural practices and environment.  Surely this might help the developing nations to take climate initiatives that would advance consistent targets at home and abroad. Alas, this is not what we have seen in the past decades.
The problem lies at the root of their beliefs and philosophies. Most Western leaders believe in evolution and random natural selection, meaning that everything happens by chance and there cannot be a reliable man-made plan, including a plan for Climate Change., After all, nature is in control and is the driving force in life. You see, these leaders do not believe in the capacity of humankind to write a deliverable plan. Neither do they believe in the existence of any pre-made or Divine plan. The bottom line is that they hold to a doctrine of ‘the inevitability of gradualism’ that will take its course.  Yet, they still try to impose plans and ask others to respect their plans. Isn’t this strange? A total contradiction between their philosophies, their plans and their actions.
This is why they struggle to bring their promises to reality and deliver their political pledges. Firstly, they do not have a sound belief system to underpin their plans. Secondly, they defeat their own (globalization) plans by asserting sovereign power to every cultural group at home, without asking them to be open to integration. A good example of this is the sovereign power that they have given to Islamists to hold onto their closed, intolerant and restrictive beliefs even though that is contradictory to the dynamic of globalization. They proclaim loudly that they are globally caring leaders, but miss the point that Islamists have historically not cared for harmony. Rather, they care for the establishment of an Islamic caliphate to force the world to bow down to their 7th century AD nomadic culture of Mecca.
So you see that, on one hand, Western leaders have been aiming to assert their power and demand the right to pursue their agendas for the future of the planet - all in the name of global harmony - but on the other hand, they have been undermining themselves at home via multiculturalism which gives power to groups like the Islamists, not only to disregard the significance of environmental issues, but the future of the world for non-Muslim citizens. What a contradiction! That’s why Islamic terrorism has been advancing globally alongside the proclamation of  ‘globalization’ (worldwide-harmony). This contradiction has been palpable for  three decades now. Islamists realize that leaders in the West are no longer governing for the protection of their own communities. Rather they are distracted by myriad minority agendas and personal aspirations for power and reputation. Muslims know that the more the cloudy-minded leaders in the West are in power, the more Islamists will be able to spread their influence and penetrate and destabilize non-Islamic societies. 
What a leadership crisis the West is facing! The weakness in leadership has been ripping off western culture and undermining its openness, freedom and creativity.   Instead, Western societies have become increasingly divided, discordant and chaotic. Such a negative trend in a culture will inevitably prepare the society for the rule of a dictator. That’s why the totalitarian thinkers are happy for the changes that are dominating the West.  Some are even financing the fragmentation, the conflict and the madness so that the long-awaited dictatorship might take over.
What is the solution?

The solution is in Jesus Christ. The Gospel says that God is not the author of disorder and confusion but of unity and peace (1 Corinthians 14:33). For this reason, the leadership of Christ is the best model. He is the Prince of peace and unity. There is no trace of confusion in His leadership. Confusion drives peace and unity away. Western leaders therefore need to go back to their Judeo-Christian legacy if they want to leave a positive impact on their world and be a blessing to other nations. No leader who is under the inspiration of Jesus Christ and seeks His counsel continually will be exposed to confusion. The Spirit of Christ in him will guide him to avoid any contradiction between his plans, promises and actions. He will not allow the spirit of division and disharmony to prevail and ruin the peace of his people. His society will experience stability under his leadership. Let us pray for leaders to have a personal encounter with Jesus Christ and to allow Him to inspire them with His leadership values for the sake of their own personal need for peace, and for the peace of their societies and the world.

They Claim to be Wise, but Support Islam

The simple definition of a wise person is one who looks at things from many angles, reflects on them in a wider context and comes up with a result or solution beneficial for humanity. Wisdom is about searching and distinguishing truth from untruth and how truth can be discerned and applied appropriately.
Some Westerners have united with Islam and consider their position insightful and wise. Not only have they taken this position personally but they also expect others, including Christians, to adopt it themselves and the chaotic culture and way of life that goes with it. Are these so-called insightful and wise people sincerely willing to understand things? Have they given themselves a chance to look at Islam from various perspectives? Do they value their own capacity to think and to reflect on their words and actions? Have they developed any wisdom in these last two decades about Islamic extremism and have they been able to give any hope to their nations in the face of Islamic terrorism everywhere? Are they really wise and are they open to a different take on wisdom?
Jesus Christ has a definition of a wise person:
Whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on a rock. And the rain came down, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house. And it did not fall, for it was founded on a rock. And everyone who hears these sayings of Mine and does not do them shall be compared to a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain came down, and the floods came, and the wind blew and beat on that house. And it fell, and great was its fall. (Matthew 7:24-27)
In the last two decades, the Western supporters of Islam have built their spiritual, social, political and even economic hopes around the idea of multiculturalism. How solid a foundation has multiculturalism been for them and their nations? Have these supporters of Islam been wise, teachable and farsighted as multiculturalism has flooded their minds and hearts over the past two decades? Has it perhaps caused them to  extend a generous, but na├»ve tolerance to Islam? 
The war against Christianity has demonstrated that many Western people see the wisdom of Christ as foolish in contrast to multiculturalism. They have tried their utmost to shackle Christian values in so many arenas. They have held on tightly to multiculturalism, called Islam a religion of peace and at times have gone even further to blame Christians for the Islamists’ treacherous acts.  
Is it possible to secure peace and harmony by shunning Christianity?  Multiculturalism had been touted as an enlightened approach to social cohesion by which all members of the community (including Muslims) come  to value and honour social and cultural diversity. But what has happened? Why do we see even Western-born Muslims joining ISIS and other Islamic terrorist groups to attack multiculturalism from the inside as well as from outside? Perhaps multiculturalism is a paradigm that lacks wisdom.
The Gospel of Jesus Christ defines wisdom in the following terms:
But the wisdom that is from above is first truly pure, then peaceable, gentle, easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. (James 3:17, MKJV)
True wisdom must be purely right and devoid of any dualism. Dualism gives way to erroneous actions. If well- meaning supporters of Islam were wise, they would genuinely take the time to compare the values of Jesus Christ with the values of Muhammad first and then decide whose way to follow. If they purified their minds and hearts in this way, they wouldn’t find themselves protecting and positioning blood thirsty Islam in such a way as to expose the safety of their fellow men and women to terrorism. True wisdom does not compromise or fraternize with error and aggressiveness, but challenges minds and hearts to discover the best means of peace in order to promote peace. 
A truly wise person is cautious, temperate, gentle, stands for modesty and reveals the power of modesty through his/her humble manner in pursuing equal justice in relationships and conversations. Multiculturalism has allowed the strident authoritarianism of Muhammad to dominate the humility and modesty of Jesus. Multiculturalism does not provide a way for navigating diversity other than preaching an undiscerning tolerance which dilutes wisdom. Unlike Muhammad, Christ points the way to strong reasoning. The gospel of Christ challenges stubbornness and produces kind thoughts, words and actions for a better and harmonious relationship. His wisdom is not hypocritical or deceitful; it unveils anything that is false. The Quran calls Allah “the best of deceivers” (Q.8:30), the one who teaches deceit. True wisdom has nothing to do with deceit. With Multiculturalism, society is required to turn a blind eye to or somehow rationalize the presence of the glaring anti-social, anti-peace, anti-freedom tenets of Islam. 
To turn away from Jesus Christ to embrace multiculturalism is a deadly initiative that is far from wisdom. Only unwise people do this and expose their lives and the lives of their surroundings to destruction. This is what the supporters of Islam have done in the West. They have boasted in their man-power, became fools and therefore become unable to see the truth.  Paul of Tarsus was a philosopher and had as much right to boast in his knowledge and wisdom as Socrates, Plato or Aristotle did. He had sufficient power of knowledge to establish  a following for himself like many others did but see what he says:
But may it never be for me to boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified to me, and I to the world. (Galatians 6:14)
Paul knew that even the famous philosophers (a philosopher means a “wisdom lover”) were unable to protect themselves from foolishness and selfishness. They fell short sometimes because they were not perfect in wisdom. Despite their reputations for being wise, there were times that their actions proved foolish, contrary to their wisdom. For this reason, they needed to follow the perfect model of wisdom in order to develop wisdom in themselves and encourage others to do the same. They were unable to be the perfect models for others because they were not perfect and had no reason to boast in themselves. They just needed to humble themselves in front of the perfect God and allow His model to rule over them. It is the absolute wisdom of God, nothing less, that saves and unites. That’s why Paul humbled himself and proclaimed:
In whom (Christ) are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. (Colossians 2:3, MKJV)
Our minds, hearts and experiences cannot be the treasury of wisdom. Every one of our experiences is exposed to our self-centeredness and pride which are against purity, unity and peace and are channels for partiality and hypocrisy. If we do not acknowledge the best and do not take shelter in it, we will be nothing but vessels of pride, disunity, aggressiveness and will open the door further for injustice to dominate. This is why Islamic terrorism is progressing and not diminishing in the West. It is because Islam is accepted as a religion of peace in the West.
Let us pray and work hard for a great awakening in the West so that many can grasp the wisdom of Christ and give way to Him but give up supporting aggressive beliefs like Islam.

Is it Wise to Ignore Politics?

Many of us Christians seem to forget the teaching of the Bible concerning our responsibility in Christ for the well-being of our societies.  When it comes to politics in particular, we either ignore it, keep our distance from it or fully abandon it. We do this largely because the church as a whole has not done well in handling this aspect of life. Perhaps because of rebellion or perhaps because of timidity or fear of conflict within the church, leaders have resisted the need to speak into some of the most pressing issues of the day. Clashes between ‘Christianity’ and the dominant cultures and philosophies of the moment seem, to many, to be the most prominent ‘evils’ to avoid. 

In creating man and woman in His own image and likeness God embedded in the essence of humankind a relational nature and a desire for relationship and unity, including our political relationships with rulers and authorities. As believers in God, indeed, image bearers of God, our presence in our societies must mirror God’s purpose for our lives in our social and political engagements with people around us.
It is important to note as we read God’s Word that the saving plan of God included people getting involved in the cut and thrust of their society.  Whether in support or in opposition, the unfolding of God’s plan involved people of every rank, including politicians(kings, administrators, generals, prime ministers, etc) being obedient to the plan and purposes of a Holy God who wanted the best for his people. Right from the beginning of Jesus’ ministry until this present time, Jesus calls His followers to be God’s salt and light in order to fulfill the desire of God to win nations through their public witness, including their witness concerning their responsibilities among other people in society. They are called to be the salt and light of the world in every part of life be that socially, politically, economically or ethically. 
Unlike the desire of many rulers and politicians, Jesus never wanted His followers to limit their activities just for inside the church buildings and thereby separate themselves from the rest of the world. How can the mighty God with His plan of reconciliation, love, justice and peace be confined to a church building or a church liturgy? Who is more universal than God? No one, obviously. That’s why Jesus commanded His disciples to go to the end of the world and teach all nations:
Therefore, go and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things, whatever I commanded you. And, behold, I am with you all the days until the end of the world. (Matthew 28:19-20, MKJV)
Jesus is asking His followers not to restrict their activities and influence for God only to a church or even to their own country but to walk alongside Him to the ends of the world, into the political and social territories of all nations making disciples of them, teaching them to observe all things. He taught them His just, modest and peace-loving political philosophy. That philosophy is based on a radical paradigm of servant-hood. He teaches us to exercise ruling and leadership with humility but not in the ways of those who impose themselves on their people and become a tyranny to them. His instruction to us is to allow the greatest among us to be the servant of all (read Matthew 20:25-27). 
The promise of salvation in Christ does not exclude politicians, but rather sees them as parts of the wider community and invites them to reconcile with God and thereby with their people and act in a servant-like manner. Why would the contemporary leaders of Christ bring lawsuits against Him to execute Him if His message did not touch politics and involve politicians? It did. In a similar way, the teaching of His disciples also engaged their contemporary rulers, otherwise, they would not have been prosecuted and killed viciously by those rulers. Throughout the history of Christianity, millions of Christ’s followers have also been deprived of their rights or slaughtered by their contemporary rulers who saw the plan of Jesus Christ as a threat to their despotic rule. All this demonstrates that Christ has  a purpose for this world that includes a challenge to tyrannical leaders.  But this is not a challenge made of aggression, hatred and hostility.  Rather, our role is to challenge them with His love so that they, in time, might serve their nation instead of dominating them. It is His courage that motivates us to approach our social environment, express our faith in Him with His language and become His vessels of change in every part of life in our society.  
We are the political salt and light of the world as much as we are the salt and light of the world socially, economically and ethically. Our participation in politics is part of our mission for Christ in the world. We cannot deny the reality of our political philosophy.  Whether we are able to identify it or not, the patterns of our thinking, our voting and our advocacy to politicians reveal our overriding principles, our beliefs and values, our moral compass for society.  Most of us would put our hands up as citizens desiring a better world.  We are not aloof from our fellow citizens.  We are participants in human society. Christ’s view of humanity should inform all aspects of our lives, our full individual and social existence. Man cannot live in society without being affected by or, indeed, affecting the ideologies of others. Each ideology or belief system has its own political, social, economic and ethical applications which affect, draw and accrue supporters, including those who are interested in politics (and perhaps some who are not). As Christians seek to bring God’s Kingdom values to bear on life on Earth, involvement in the political arena of nations and communities is clearly inevitable and desirable.
Therefore, calling for Christians to stay away from politics is nothing but asking them to ignore their faith, have a passive stand in their relationship with others and withdraw from their concern for the lives of their fellow men and women. A healthy society does not come into existence without decisive, meaningful and active participation and care of its individual bodies, including Christians. Individuals are not created or do not exist to only be obedient in the path of their life-journey but also to actively participate, advise, guide and provoke consciences about everything, including via politics. In a similar way, Christians have also chosen (or are chosen) to walk in the path of God, be His ambassadors and thereby prove their godly responsibilities in the society both individually and collectively. They are ambassadors to challenge and encourage people to use their full competence for comparing values, including political values, and choose the best. A person will not be able to choose the best unless he is allowed to get involved with the fullness of his life in order to be able to use his full capacity. Asking Christians to leave their beliefs, consciences and experiences outside the political arena means “follow me blindly”. The western democratic lifestyle did not start with such a dictatorial behavior. It also cannot continue with a dominating manner that divides the society and creates favoritism or classism. The true followers of the God of the Bible should be averse to any troublesome philosophy that undermines justice, mercy, compassion, truth, or righteousness. The Bible says:
And if a stranger lives with you in your land, you shall not oppress him. The stranger that dwells with you shall be to you as one born among you, and you shall love him as yourself. For you were strangers in the land of Egypt. I am Jehovah your God. (Leviticus 19:33-34, MKJV)
The leadership that God manifests here through His followers is not a one-way authoritarian leadership that is based on conditional politics and favoritism which are threats to freedom and unity. It is rather a ruling method of cohesion that protects the rights of even strangers so that they can learn to appreciate openness, feel at home, relate to others peacefully, show love to their new society and work in harmony with people for the wellbeing of the society. But turning your back on God and His leadership leads to unhealthy relationships, including political relationships that threaten national unity.  Sadly, this is increasingly common now in the West. 

The whole purpose of life, including the political purpose, is only found in the God of the Bible. The followers of Christ are therefore not to ignore politics, especially in this dark political era. They need to get themselves involved, in one way or the other, and courageously put their faith in Christ into practice in order to transform any unjust or unethical political processes into a godly model based in humility which can create harmony among people and bring comfort to them. 

The West Is No Longer Fit to Enjoy Peace

The West is in serious trouble with many roadblocks to harmony and peace. Peace cannot happen and be enjoyed unless there is a sound ideological reason behind the desires of people who crave peace. Peace means that you and your community are free from adversaries whose aims are systemic destruction. Not only do we not see such freedom at present, but the West has further adapted itself to a chaotic culture, that of multiculturalism, which has become toxic to both freedom and peace. 
The voice of political correctness, the champion of multiculturalism, is louder and louder and present at every level of society, yet it is a poison to freedom and peace. Whether in schools, universities, government agencies and even in private organizations, people are afraid of naming this enemy for fear of losing their jobs or of other consequences. 
While all western societies are in daily fear of Islamic terrorism, when one makes a fair criticism of multiculturalism it is labelled terrorism in Western societies. The West is no longer effective in pushing back this dire enemy of its people. On the contrary, it has become expert in silencing the voices of those who stand for what is right and for the peace and comfort of their nation. This is because multiculturalism has created fertile ground for many Western leaders to devalue democratic principles at the cost of their nations’ security and peace. They have turned their back on the Judeo-Christian values – values that champion the right of people to question the claims of their political and spiritual leaders. Not only this, God has said that the people even have the right to take their case to the most powerful and mighty God and to defend their stance against leaders, because they were created with freedom of choice.
Moses, as a spiritual and political leader, said:
When a prophet speaks in the name of Jehovah, if the thing does not follow nor come to pass, that is the thing which Jehovah has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously. You shall not be afraid of him. (Deuteronomy 18:22, MKJV)
The God of the Bible Himself says in the book of the prophet Isaiah:
Come now, and let us reason together, says Jehovah. (Isaiah 1:18a, MKJV)
Multiculturalism was initially introduced to the West as idealogically compatible with democracy but, in practice, it has been undermining democracy. It is very obvious thatin the West, accommodating multiculturalism, even its most hostile expressions, has meant that society has increasingly rejected the ‘Prince’ of freedom with His sanctioned autonomy for all persons. Such autonomy is now illegal in many offices in the multicultural West. People are frightened to speak freely. Only certain people who publicly endorse the validity of multiculturalism are free to speak out against the majority view. “My way or the highway” as the saying goes. Many so-called supporters of democracy now keep quiet out of fear since the creeping giant of multiculturalism is in control of so many aspects of people’s lives and has opened the door for a legal way to punish and silence people for their opinions.
Is it possible to have peace without autonomy and freedom? Absolutely not. Fighting freedom is fighting peace too. Lack of freedom is bondage, whereas peace is freedom from the torment of bondage. The words “freedom, security and peace” are still used by many politicians.  Yet, it is not because they are aiming to establish these qualities in society. Rather, they appeal to these notions as a temporary camouflage until people are made completely voiceless and made victims to these politicians’ guile and self-centeredness. 
The reason that the giant West has fallen short in its confrontation with terrorism is because its freedom is under siege from within. Its leaders have turned their back on their nations’ cultures, but given sovereign power to the culture of bondage in the form of multiculturalism and even to its terrorizing ideologies that see freedom as poison. 
No matter how thirsty a nation may become for peace, it will be impossible for it to achieve peace if its leaders are confused in the midst of many cultures and therefore unable to lead them through the maze of conflicting beliefs and values. The Bible teaches us a great lesson from a generation of Jews who were confused in the wilderness after departing from Egypt. They took a long and costly journey for freedom, peace and rest but were, for much of their journey, turning their back on the Prince of peace. That’s why God said to them:
…. they have not known my ways. As I swore in my wrath, 'They shall not enter my rest.' (Hebrew 3:10-11, KJV)
While the Children of Israel loved their freedom from slavery, and the opportunity to become a sovereign nation and to find rest in peace from the hands of their slave-master, Egypt, they needed to learn obedience to the God of their Salvation.  Instead, they missed it because their hearts and minds were not freed from their slave-master’s culture. They were heading towards the promised land of freedom, Israel, but their hearts and minds were running in the opposite direction back to Egypt, craving for the security of its bread which had previously yoked them. (Exodus 16:3)
This is the same story with our double-minded politicians in the West and of those who support them. They won’t enter peace and rest because they are yoked to multiculturalism and have themselves become roadblocks to peace and rest. After decades of daily terrorist attacks across the world, they are not only hesitant to reveal and name the enemy of their nations. Rather, they punish those who do speak out. They have formed alliances with the children of their nations’ enemies in the name of maintaining courteous international relations, even when such compromises are dangerous to their own nations’ safety. They have tried to establish peace with the help of countries like Saudi Arabia and Iran who, in practice, consistently demonstrate that they have contempt for peace,  even supplying more than 80% of the funds that the terrorists use to destroy western values and interests around the world.  Most leaders of Islamic countries are themselves abusing human rights, crushing freedom of speech and expression within their own countries. Just for criticizing his own religion, Islam, a young Saudi Arabian man was recently sentenced to 2,000 lashes and 10 years in prison. The cultures of these countries are warmly accepted in the West under the banner of multiculturalism. Leftists, radical feminists, and many others pushing for radical social reforms frequently speak out against Christianity whose founder is the Prince of kindness, peace and love. Yet they so often keep quiet or play at being conciliatory when it comes to Islam which has closed the door to peace in every aspect of life in Islamic lands and communities. In fact, Islamic leaders are singularly hostile to the ideas of those who want radical social reform – e.g. radical feminism, open homosexuality, etc . They warmly welcome Islam, the master of slavery across Islamic societies, but reject Jesus, the Master of peace.
We have an idiom that says, “You get in your spoon whatever you put in your soup.” This is the case with the West with its adoption of multiculturalism. As long as it continues to align itself with multiculturalism its spoon or cup will be full of restlessness. 
The West needs Jesus to free it from its enemies’ coercions. Multiculturalism, of itself, does not have any outstanding framework for peace in order to create a pathway to peace and rest. Instead, it has confused people with its multiple culturally-based models, including those that are opposed to peace. A true pathway to peace never accommodates a terrorist person or ideology. Almost every chapter of the Quran is colored by the blood of non-Muslims, infidels, simply because they do not join Islam. It says that jihad (war) against non-Muslims is ordained by Allah for every Muslim (Q. 2:216); that those who join jihad are better than those who stay back and do not pursue jihad (Q.4.95). Despite its hostile doctrine and the hostility of its committed adherents, Islamic culture is now firmly embedded within western multiculturalism and the West is still calling Islam a peace-loving religion. 
Almost all the leaders in Islamic countries, including the moderate ones, see western values and democracy as a threat to their despotic regimes. They hate multiculturalism in their own lands. Many of them spend huge amounts of money every year in one way or the other, to Islamize the West. Saudi Arabia is the forerunner in uprooting western civilization by funding and supporting Muslim ministries in the West and non-Islamic countries. Saudi Arabia does not allow a single Bible to be taken across its borders, but its embassies in Western countries are the centers of distribution for all kinds of Islamic books. 
There is not a shred of evidence in the history of Islam or in our contemporary time whereby we can call Islam a religion of peace. Islam promotes war and hostility. Islamic leaders across the nations of Islam are not all ignorant in their interpretation of the Quran when they criminalize freedom. They know what is sacred in Islam and have accordingly allowed its values to rule against freedom in their regimes. It is indeed Western leaders who willfully want to misinterpret Islam. However, accepting Islam or any other unfriendly and hostile ideology as peace-promoting obliges western governments to include the principles of those beliefs within their own approach to peace and social cohesion. This therefore signifies the kind of peace the West aims for: a kind of peace that appeases Islamists and the leaders of Islamic nations, despite the evidence that flows out of their own cruel regimes. Clearly, it is impossible for the West to have peace while embracing the contradictions of multiculturalism. The West is in desperate need of Jesus, the Prince of Peace, in order to rest in true peace and become a light of peace to others across the globe.

You Can Still Hear the Voice: “Crucify Him!” (The metaphor of “Barabbas”)

There is still a dangerous discord in the air everywhere which reminds us of the old hateful chant “Away with this man, and release unto us Barabbas” (Luke 23:18, KJV).  Subtly, the melody may be a bit different. If we want to put it into words it may seem like this: “Release unto us Jesus without His faith and values”. 
Contemporary opposition to Christianity does not necessarily reject Jesus outright. Sometimes I hear in my conversations with the followers of western philosophical and political ideologies that Jesus was a good and respectful man in their opinion, and he did well in his time. Even a few communists have told me that Jesus was a good communist since he lived an egalitarian life with his disciples. So, many of these opponents of Christianity will welcome Jesus only if He can be aligned with the most recent, preferred ideological paradigms.
The truth is that a Jesus without His eternal values is indeed ‘a Barabbas’ from the world with all his worldly problems. He is not the Jesus of the Gospel, but the Jesus of Gnosticism, Jesus of the Quran, Jesus of Mahatma Gandhi, Jesus of Humanism or even the Jesus of Yasser Arafat who was a bloodthirsty Muslim jihadi. In all these claims Jesus is only acceptable to serve the motives of individuals or groups in order to reject, vilify, persecute or kill Christians. In other words, it is a false Jesus who is eager to crucify the true Jesus time and again for His unconditional love, absolute holiness, true justice and pure righteousness. 
History has demonstrated that the establishment of a false Jesus is a precursor to the persecution of true followers of Jesus Christ. Muhammad, the prophet of Islam, accepted Jesus as a prophet only, yet he sanctioned the persecution and death of Christians in the second stage of his life. The following is just one of many examples from the Quran:
Fight against such of those who have been given the Scripture as believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, and forbid not that which Allah hath forbidden by His messenger, and follow not the Religion of Truth, until they pay the tribute readily, being brought low. And the Jews say: Ezra is the son of Allah, and the Christians say: The Messiah is the son of Allah. That is their saying with their mouths. They imitate the saying of those who disbelieved of old. Allah (Himself) fighteth against them. How perverse are they! (Quran, Sura 9 verses 29 and 30)
Jesus was pronounced by Muhammad as one of the most respected prophets, but then Muhammad went on to discount the truth about Jesus recorded in the gospels hundreds of years earlier. This is because Muhammad wanted to convince his followers that Christians were perverted and thereby justify the killing of Christians. The English word “fight” in the two verses above is not “fight” in Arabic. It is “kill” or “ghatilou”. It asks Muslims to slaughter Christians for believing that Jesus is the Son of God. Christians may only be pardoned from execution by paying a humiliating ransom (jizya) every year and living as second class citizens in submission to the Muslim community. The equivalent of such a barbaric creed and action does not come from Jesus Christ whose Gospel does not have even a verse to command its follower to hate or persecute or kill others for the sake of their beliefs, no matter what. It is a sanction which can only be attributed to ‘a Barabbas’. Indeed, Islam’s acceptance of Jesus Christ means  releasing ‘a Barabbas’, but crucifying Jesus Christ with His teaching and life values.
It is the same with all other individuals or groups who conditionally accept Jesus by rejecting His values or accepting some of His teachings but ignoring others. Their ultimate goal is to reject the true Jesus and persecute his followers.  They want to discard the actual values of Jesus Christ or in other words, “Crucify Him.” Their acceptance is nothing but, “Give to us Barabbas” but cast aside Jesus. Take Him to Calvary. Crucify Him! Let His mind and heart disappear completely. It is not fitting that he should be allowed to live, given his requirement that his followers should love God one hundred per cent, humbly care for the rights of others, deal honestly with all people – an honesty that confronts hypocrisy and challenges political correctness – and, lastly, love justice – a justice that cherishes responsibility.
In today’s western world, children learn the irresponsible ‘Barabbas’ lifestyle from primary school through to the end of tertiary education. We learn more of it in the work place and, willingly or unwillingly, consciously or subconsciously, teach others that ‘Barabbas’ is what society needs. The truth that Jesus Christ taught does not fit in today’s lifestyle where truth is fluid. All ideas are acceptable as truth. You are conditioned to be a voice for mindless ‘Barabbases’ since the mind is not considered compatible with the dominant philosophy of evolutionary randomness. Those who are absorbed in this philosophy of our times, raise their voices louder and louder against anyone who believes that we are created in such a way as to search for the best.
Our contemporary culture has become a culture for establishing people in self-centeredness and irresponsibility, like Barabbas, to ignore the consequences of the words they speak or the decisions they make. Those who wanted the criminal Barabbas to be released to them and the innocent Jesus to be killed didn’t give a responsible thought for the future of their children. They did not even know the real person, Barabbas, for whom they were standing. They were similar to our contemporary fellow men and women who also are madly absorbed in the Godless political milieu of our times. Blind compliance does not give them time to think deeply. Instead it pushes them to do whatever leaders and influential opinion-shapers pressure them to do and to think. The crowd before Pilate not only insisted that Pilate kill Jesus and release the scandalous Barabbas in His place, they even proclaimed that they were ready to take the guilt of putting Jesus to death, if there be any, on themselves and on their children. (Matthew 27:25) They were fully blinded to such an extent that they never thought about what they were proclaiming. Their approval of crucifying an innocent person brought judgment on them and their children. Less than half a century later, a great number of their own children were crucified dreadfully by their Roman governors.  Their cities and religious centers were ruined and the lives of thousands were lost because of shortages of food and shelter.  
This is what we read and hear from the lips and preferences of people everywhere in the secular West: in educational centers, government offices, in election campaigns, in the media, in multicultural societies, in tyrannical societies, in national and international relations and strangely in some churches too: “Away with Jesus, release to us Barabbas”. 
This worries us, as the followers of Jesus Christ, when we pause to consider the future of the children of these rebellious people who want Jesus Christ dead but ‘Barabbas’ free. They esteem the archetype of Barabbas highly, consciously or unconsciously, in the same way as does Islam, humanism, socialism, multiculturalism, homosexuality etc. They do this by ignoring, rejecting, hating or even terrorizing the voices of truth, yet, at the same time calling themselves civilized. As a result only certain individuals or groups are free to say whatever they like. 
I was born in a despotic country where there was always a secret voice whispering in the ears of every child to watch his/her mouth when it came to speaking the truth. Even the god and prophet of Islam had taught us that we had to follow a corrupt leader blindly if he was in the service of Islam:
Muhammad said: Striving in the path of Allah (jihad) is incumbent on you along with every ruler, whether he is pious or impious; the prayer is obligatory on you behind every believer, pious or impious, even if he commits grave sins; the (funeral) prayer is incumbent upon every Muslim, pious and impious, even if he commits major sins. (Dawud, Book 14, Hadith 2527) 
You just shut your mouth and follow Islam. Of course, it was not that easy for every one to digest everything, especially when a leader expected you to disrespect your parents for their lesser involvement in Islamic activities or to kill one of your family members for a similar reason. Or perhaps it required you to give your little daughter to a leader to become his provisional or fulltime wife or even divorce your wife so that he could have her. Some people are able to adapt themselves and live in all conditions, but not every one.
This is the plight of people who are living in closed countries under iron fists. Crucifying Jesus is easier there - as easy as drinking a glass of water. On the other hand, everybody there knows that the leadership is dictatorial; if a person wants to live, she or he has only two choices - keep quiet and live or flee. 
However, it is heartbreaking to see these dictatorial attitudes emerging in democratic countries from presidents and prime ministers. Even from a worldly perspective, the leadership model of Jesus Christ, His relational values and ethics are uniquely the best in the world. But even the top leaders in the West have opened the door wide for the persecution of His sincere followers. Such leaders are seduced by ‘the culture of Barabbas’ and do not take time to at least think about the future of their own children. They don’t know that giving way to the destruction of truth may give way to the destruction of their own children, as it happened to the Jews in ancient times.
Let those of us who understand the heart and mind of Jesus Christ act like Him in the midst of this darkened age. May we be ready to even be crucified in this world and so rise with Him in order that our truthful thoughts, words and actions might prevent the death of our generation and their children and, further, become the means of salvation now and for generations to come. Let us die to ‘the culture of Barabbas’ but rise to the culture of Jesus Christ.

While the Mouth Broadcasts Peace, the Heart Plans for War!

Surely, across the world each day, the word ‘peace’ is spoken more often than so many other words. In Hebrew the equivalent word is ‘Shalom’ which was chosen to be used more than other words as a daily gesture of declaring peace with God and neighbors. Muhammad, the prophet of Islam, proclaimed the connection between his ministry and the ministry of Biblical prophets. He borrowed the word ‘Shalom’ (Salam in Arabic) to be a part of daily conversation among Muslims similar to its usage among Jews.
The word ‘peace’ is used copiously among Muslims in  Islamic nations of the world. It is a way of greeting each other. More than a billion Muslims use the word ‘Salam’ any time they see each other, wishing peace for one another. Even the radical Muslims greet each other with the word ‘peace’.
How could intolerance, discrimination, hostility and war grow increasingly among Muslims even though the word ‘peace’ has continually been the currency of their daily conversations? Why do Muslim nations have less peace with each other in comparison to other nations who do not use the word ‘peace’ daily as Muslims do? How could this most desirable peace be hard to achieve among Muslims even though it is declared more than a billion times a day? Is there anything hidden from the eyes of Muslims that does not allow their inclination for peace to be practical? 
The majority of Muslims have a familiar, standard response to these questions. Most of our contemporary Muslims are brainwashed from childhood that it is America or Israel that has deprived them of having peace among themselves. Whatever happens in Islamic countries, the blame goes on Israel and America. Some people long for freedom, but leaders accuse them of spying for Israel or America. Any opponent to any leader is accused of Zionism or Americanization in Islamic countries. Even though I hated Israel while I was a political prisoner, I was still called a Zionist since I fell out of Ayatollah Khomeini’s favor. It has become a fashion among various Muslim sects to blame each other with being Israeli or western agents. 
No Muslim has a chance to think deeper and to see that Muslims wouldn’t be hostile towards each other if they had a solid foundation in peace. The enemies of peace may have been able to disturb them from time to time, but would be unable to utterly destroy the peace among them if their religion was compatible with peace. Iranians have an idiom that says, “If my dog was a good dog, jackals wouldn’t be able to hunt my chickens.” In a similar way, if the peace in Islam was an authentic peace, it would shine among Muslims and would shield Muslims from their so-called enemies. But the peace in Islam has achieved more bloodshed than actual peace in the 1400 years of its history, even in the centuries when Israel and America were not present. The problem is at the root of Islam which gives more weight to lip service than truthful words. Muslims cannot achieve peace by just announcing the word ‘peace’ without a solid standard in true peace. Peace cannot be achieved without the leadership of the Prince of Peace Instead of searching for the Prince of Peace, Muslim leaders are rather busy with lip service, speaking softer words while their hearts are preparing for and in the service of war.
In the face of hostilities perpetrated by various committed Muslim groups in different parts of the world, some Muslims have been broadcasting that the word ‘Islam” means ‘peace’. They have been trying to convince people in the West that Islam is inherently against violence. 
Anybody who understands a little bit of Arabic knows that the word ‘Islam’ has in no way any connection with the word ‘Salam’ which means peace. Islam means submission or surrendering which is the central focus of Islamic doctrine, calling all to surrender before establishing their belief in Islam. As the Quran states in sura (chapter) 49 verse 14 that faith comes after surrender. In other words, the world ‘Islam’ means such a surrender which leaves no chance for anyone to make an intelligent, willing decision.
Suppose the word ‘Islam’ meant peace; wouldn’t this shock people if they discovered that more than 60% of the Quran, Islam’s holy book, was about hatred, discrimination, belittling, hostility and bloodshed towards those who do not practice Islam or reject it? Wouldn’t then people have a right to call Islamists hypocrites? Imagine that more than 60% of a religion’s principles are about ignoring or denying the rights of others while it is still called the religion of peace! 
The problem with Islamists is clearly expressed in the Bible: 
The words of his mouth were smoother than butter, but war was in his heart: his words were softer than oil, yet they were drawn swords. (Psalm 55:21, NKJV)
As long as Islam is called a religion of peace, despite encouraging immature children to fight against their guardians (sura 9 verse 23); Muslims to kill their non-Muslim relatives and neighbors (sura 9 verse 123); and to kill non-Muslims for the sake of their beliefs (sura 8 verses 38-39), Muslims can neither have peace among themselves nor with others no matter how loudly they speak about peace. Hiding the truth about Islam is against peace in itself. This is where our politicians in the West have naively adopted the Islamists’ lie of calling Islam the religion of peace, thereby closing the doorway to peace. 
How can we know the authenticity of a claim without referring to the ideology, belief or motivation behind it? Do people not deserve the opportunity to weigh up someone’s confession against the primary source of his beliefs and ethics, which supplies the food of his heart and shapes his relational values?
True peace must first start in the heart, not on the tongue. The vast majority of individual people groups in the world call themselves peaceful. The leaders of Communist China, Shiite Iran, Sunni Saudi Arabia, Russia, America, Europe, Africa and others all call themselves peace-lovers or peace-makers. All beliefs, including Islam, are called peaceful. Which of these nations can be trusted? Which mouth can be believed? It is a fact that what comes out of the mouth alone is not reliable evidence for assessing truth or falsehood. The very nature of ‘the mouth’ is its propensity for hypocrisy, pretending to have something which is not true. That’s why the truth about a thing cannot be measured by the words of a person’s mouth alone, unless we know the beliefs and standards that support those words. If a person’s beliefs sanction the idea that the end justifies the means or lying and deception are legitimate under some circumstances, the words of that person cannot serve the cause of truth or peace. 
To have a belief in ‘truth’ is vital for everyone so that it can unite heart and mouth for thinking, talking and acting in truth and peace. Efforts have to be made in order to discover the truth; the truth that sets one free from every sin, including the sin of disunity between heart and mouth - namely hypocrisy. That’s why Jesus said:

And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. (John 8:32, NKJV)

Restless and Vocal until The Motherland is Liberated

Someone has been praying, crying, longing and taking necessary steps for nearly 30 years for his motherland not only to receive the light of freedom, but also to shine. He would love to boast of his motherland one day honoring freedom of rights, speech and belief. He himself was terribly persecuted in his motherland and was very close to losing his life, but fortunately found a way to save his life and escape. 
While tears poured from his eyes, he said that he had seen many lands more beautiful than his motherland in many parts of the world, but had missed her because of his family, friends and some good memories. He longs for the walls of separation and hostilities to be brought down in his motherland. Then people will experience in a practical way how beautiful a country can be if there is freedom in every area.
It is amazing that he calls his county of birth “motherland”, his mother’s land, even though it is an Islamic country ruled under the Islamic law. This phrase does not match Islam which gives less right to mothers than fathers. The father is the second ruler after the government in order to make sure that everything in his household is in line with Islam. He is called the owner of his wives (Quran 53:2), hence the mother is called the property of her husband. He can go everywhere he likes, but she is asked to sit at home quietly and not to go out (Quran 33:33). She brings children into the world, but does not have any right over her children if she is divorced. After the divorce she also does not have any right to visit her children who grew in her heart; children belong to their father. As an inheritance mothers receive only one eighth of their husbands’ wealth, including lands, in Islam. In such a restricting, harsh and masculine culture, it is amazing that a country is called the “Motherland”. 
This word, like some other influential words, has been a powerful tool for many exiled Iranians, in particular Christians, to voice their longings to their fellow men and women. They have been writing poems and songs; reciting, singing and broadcasting them via every media channel they can in order to express their restlessness for their motherland. The mindset in Iran had never been Christianized under the rule of moderate kings as much as it is now under the rule of the tyrannical Islamic Republic of Iran. Just express your concern about your motherland in a poem and read it on a radio or TV program or put it on a website. It will shake many. 
The word “motherland” is from the pre-Islamic era and it has remained in usage until now in Islamic countries. The ancient culture attributed the honor of ownership of the country to the most compassionate one in the family, the mother. Only a compassionate heart is able to cultivate and look after the land well.
In some other nations, countries are also called “Fatherland” because of the patriotic nature of their cultures. It encapsulates the way people can love their birth places and want to protect them from enemies. No matter what a birth place is called, it is a wonderful testimony of God that is left among various people groups whereby they can relate their birth places to the hearts of their parents in a loving way and care for their well-being. This will help them not to forget it as they do not normally forget their mothers and fathers. 
Maybe the love for motherland or fatherland and a heartfelt devotion for its well-being are gifts from the Creator of the universe. Maybe He wanted to endow people with compassionate, earnest and tireless longing so that they could seek the best for their nations to the extent that their deliverance could also become the means of deliverance for others. As we say, “To be blessed is for blessing others.” 
It is no wonder that the prophet Isaiah cries restlessly not only for the salvation of Jerusalem but also for her righteousness and salvation to shine like a burning lamp among others:
For Zion's sake I will not be silent, and for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest, until its righteousness goes out as brightness, and her salvation as a burning lamp. (Isa. 62:1, MKJV)
These words reveal the height of Isaiah’s longing, prayer and mission for his land and nation to revive and further become the salt (righteousness) and light (burning lamp) for others. Not only did he want his nation to be liberated in spirit, but also to become a light of liberation for others.
Why would a person have a big picture in mind and a heart for his/her country and nation to become a bridge of blessing to other nations? Isn’t it enough to see that your own family, community or country has achieved success and is doing well? Why worry about the wellbeing of other nations?
Longing for true freedom, or having it, includes others too. True freedom can neither be limited by an individual’s nor a family’s nor even a nation’s motives; if it is limited, then it is not true freedom. When a heart becomes free, it changes and then spreads its light as a shining lamp to its surroundings. In a similar way, a city with freedom shines to other cities or a country to other countries. One reason that many people from various nations have been moving or desiring to move to the West is because of freedom in the West. True freedom is extraordinarily good and influential. It creates compassion or care in you and thereby enables you to see the miseries of others and to take initiatives for their liberty with the uttermost of your efforts, no matter who those others may be, friends or foes. It shines and changes people from all walks of life and makes them blessings to others too. So, any person touched by this freedom should not rest or become silent if his/her nation and others are experiencing any kind of darkness or misery. Any person should not rest or become silent until the splendor of his/her salvation reaches near and far. 
As it was in Isaiah’s time, faith in the true God is misunderstood by many. The values of Christ are unknown or misunderstood and thereby are not given a chance to shine in many places. Ignorance and misunderstanding will not go away unless the values of Christ are made clear to the extent that they become lights for people at home and abroad. This will not happen unless the followers of Christ become compassionate towards those who are drowning in ignorance and confusion and help them to see and receive the light. One great hindrance to the Gospel is that we, as the followers of Christ, have retreated and do not feel restless for the darkness around us. The darkness will be removed if it becomes the subject of our continual prayers and efforts. 

We are the vehicle of Jesus Christ’s sincere concern for our nation and others. He has called us to promote our position in Him and spread His light through our unceasing prayers, through our own individual mission and through encouraging others to take the light to coming generations until many take refuge in Him.