Friday, September 01, 2006

Why They Come

While out for a walk in the countryside last weekend I came across an unusual site. A group of about 50 Iranians were standing next to a lake in Sussex witnessing the baptism of two adults who had converted to Christianity from Islam.

The man baptizing them was himself a church leader in Iran until a few years ago when he had to flee the country. His brother was executed by the Iranian authorities on account of his active Christian commitment.

With all the debate about migration, European enlargement and asylum seekers, it is important to not forget that one reason so many people move to the UK is to seek basic religious and human freedoms - in this case, the freedom to believe and worship according to your conscience rather than the dictates of the state.

Apparently, the vast majority of this group were former Muslims who are now Christians and who belong to a Christian church in London. To convert in their home country would mean certain imprisonment: to attempt to tell a Muslim the Christian message is to face the death penalty.

As well as celebrating the power of the gospel, I was also thankful to live in a country with such a long history of protecting human rights.

4 comments:

Muhammad said...

I feel ashamed having a so-called "Muslim" country behave as such. Throughout entire Islamic History, the freedom to worship however and whoever you pleased was sacred in every single Islamic State. You jsut need to look at Saladin as just one example.

Now it has been desecrated by extremists. However it has been portrayed by the media, Islam does not purport the killing, arresting or anything of the sort of anyone who changes their religion, whether to/from Islam or anything else.

It is unfortunate that the actions of a few have tainted the the way of life and the media has made the situation worse. We just need to remember that Hitler and Timothy McVeigh were also Christians but it was not Christianity that went on trial.

Anyhow, sorry for my rant, I understand that it was not Islam you were referring to in your blog post but Iran.

Great Post.

Thanks.

Muhammad.

atlanticwriter said...

Thank you for taking the time to read and comment. Like you, I don't want to judge any religion by the worst excesses of some of its adherants.

Just two specific (and brief) responses:

1. First, I am not aware of any historian who would describe Hitler as a Christian. If he had any religious worldview, it would appear to be occultic/pagan in nature, linked of course to extreme nationalism. He was opposed by many Christians, most famously the German pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer who was executed by the Nazis in 1945 - see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dietrich_Bonhoeffer

2. Although I am not as informed about Islamic history as you, I am aware of the current situation in many countries with a Muslim majority government. Although Christians in such countries do enjoy varying degrees of freedom to practice their religion (even in Iran, as it happens), it is the specific issue of conversion from Islam to another religion that is often opposed by such governments. Even "moderate" ststea such as Malaysia have laws against conversion which are a severe restriction on the Christian communities in that country.

Thanks again for your comments and insights.

prying1 said...

Muhammad - I personally know Christians AND Zorastrians that moved from the Middle East, (Egypt, Lebanon, Iran) who all have stories saying the same thing. Murder is being committed on a large scale by 'Muslums' against people of other faiths. The governments there do not offer any protection to non-Muslums.

I also know a couple Muslums that tell me the stories are not 'quite true'...

- This is from four different families that do not know one another - The Bible says the testimony of two is enough to convict. Should I believe the two or the four?

I will rant against the 'Good' Muslum people that do not stand up against terrorism. Be they in Iran or any other location of planet earth.

If the Muslum religion is a religion of peace then the people of that religion must stand up and prove it.

This includes denoucing the bombing of Israeli Pizza shops!
~~~~~~
AtlanticWriter - Sorry for getting on the soapbox on your blog - I know you forgive me because it is part of your 'heart of flesh' nature...

I really stopped by to say how encouraged I am by your posting. I met a group of ex-Muslums at a Praise and Worship Symposium in Pasadena, California. They have a church 60-70 strong (Probably more since it has been a while) in mid-California and it had been quite a while since I had met people so on fire for Christ. I felt under conviction for my own loss of bubbliness...
~~~~~
Bonhoeffer was an EXCELLENT point. It is estimated and other 3 MILLION of Hitler's victims were non Jews.

My thought was of Corrie Ten Boom.

I'd like to add that McVeigh was not shouting "Glory to God" as his bomb went off. He may have been brought up in a church but he was NOT doing what that church taught him...

A closing line I got from John Telfer Brown - blogger/pastor of Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia is: - GBYAY -

Mike Hitchen said...

Great post. It is nice to see something different to the usual Islam/Muslim bashing, so beloved by armchair graduates from the University of Fox News and the highly influential, Sydney talk-back radio