Posts Tagged ‘Faith’

A New Dawn (EXTRACT)

January 9, 2010

Article Title: The Five Gospels: What Did Jesus Really Say (from ‘A New Dawn’) ? Submitted by: Craig Lock Key words: Spiritual Growth, Spirituality, Faith, Inspiration, Jesus, Jesus Christ, Christianity, A New Dawn, Words of inspiration, “Spiritual Thoughts”. Other Articles are available at: http://www.selfgrowth.com/articles/user/15565 and http://www.ideamarketers.com/library/profile.cfm?writerid=981 (Personal growth, self help, writing, internet marketing, spiritual, ‘spiritual writings’ (how ‘airey-fairey’), words of inspiration and money management, how boring now, craig!) Publishing Guidelines: This extract (as with all my articles) may be freely published, electronically or in print (with acknowledgment to the sources, thanks). . “We share what we know, so that we all may grow.” * THE FIVE GOSPELS: WHAT DID JESUS REALLY SAY? The following is a short extract from one of Craig’s new manuscripts titled ‘A NEW DAWN’ Christianity is defined by the claim that the person who was Jesus Christ, is the eternal Son of God, who has come in the ‘veil of flesh’, who died and has risen from the dead. The gift of eternal life and spirit of reconciliation is available to ALL, through Him alone…and this claim is central to Christianity. Christianity is not just following set ideas, beliefs or lifestyle; but is a personal living relationship with God Himself. Let us look at the true values of the faith of Christ… Passion for liberalism, tolerance, compassion, decency and generous ideals. The Gospels are characterised by Jesus’s unlimited (infinite) generosity of spirit. He continually taught the value of human life. Jesus didn’t speak much about God; but rather the ‘Kingdom of God’, being rather more concerned with the human condition. He proclaimed the simplest of all appeals to Faith: Love God with everything you’ve got and put the well-being of your neighbour on a par with yourself. His life and teachings have been vindicated. His parables point to and sometimes describe human attitudes to life, the nature of our relationships to others, as well as the kind of society we should be attempting to build. Jesus taught people to look into the future with faith and hope (“Don’t fret about your own life”). We have to take responsibility ourselves to make the right decisions in our lives…and that is why we are given choice, ie. free will. Jesus did not die for the sins of the world; he died because of the sins of the world. I see Jesus Christ as the key to what it is to be truly human. The most important theme in the teachings of Jesus was brotherly love. “Love the Lord, your God with all your strength, heart, mind and soul and love your neighbour as yourself.” Christ told us to love our enemies, not to shoot them, send them to concentration camps, or blow them up! Loving ones enemies was and still is a revolutionary statement. Jesus taught that violence achieves nothing, whether it comes from terrorists or from the response to terrorists. The chief theme of James (the brother of Jesus) is the living of the “good life” and this is said to be achieved by the pursuit of wisdom, a spiritual gift which originates with God. The tradition of Jesus of Nazareth points us to a new life and new thoughts, as well as new possibilities…as a nation and as an international community. * My portrait is the man of almost 20 centuries ago, who talked passionately about a mode of living, so rich that it deserved to be called God’s kingdom. And, in that sense, He is still with us. Live your life led by the Spirit of Christ… and the truth shall set you free. * “For me the term (concept) of what we call ‘God’ focuses on all the goals and aspirations, that make existence meaningful to us. Most importantly, it symbolises all that humanity supremely values…and there is no thing, no time and no place in which we do not encounter this God.” – adapted from Lloyd Geering * When people have God’s spirit living within them, it opens their eyes to a whole new dimension, a new, better and higher way of LIVING. Jesus encouraged life and encouraged all people to reach their God-given potential, to live life to the full (“I have come that people may have life and have it abundantly.”) For ME, Jesus is the way to my reality. So Jesus not only died died for us He LIVED for us! from Lloyd Geering’s ‘Christianity without God’ “If we choose to speak of God, we shall be using this term to focus on all that we supremely value and on the goals which make human existence meaningful and worthwhile; and there is no thing and no place in which we do not encounter this God.” Lloyd Geering in ‘Tomorrow’s God’ Shared by craig About the submitter: Craig likes to share information and insights to encourage others to be all they are capable of being. He’d love to try to ‘build bridges’ (not metal or wooden ones, thank goodness!) between people, firmly believing that what we share is way more important than what divides us. http://www.selfgrowth.com/experts/craig_lock.html http://www.myspace.com/writercraig and http://www.craiglockbooks.com Craig’s new manuscripts, ‘A New Dawn’ and ‘From Seeds of Hate to the Bonds of Love,are set in the Middle East: In it he attempts to find ‘common ground’/principles between different religions and cultures and to try to make some difference in building bridges in an ever more dangerous, tubulent and uncertain world. A passionate story of inspiration: hope, faith, peace and especially love for the world. “Those whom you want to change… you must first love.” Dr Martin Luther King, Jnr “What we learn in the darkness, we are to share in the eternal light.”

A New Dawn (extract)

August 30, 2009

The following is a short extract from the first two chapters of Craig’s new manuscript ‘A NEW DAWN’, on which he’s currently “working”

*
A NEW DAWN

CHAPTER ONE: FATIMA

Fatima Mohamed (or Prasad) had always been concerned with human rights.  Her strong Islamic faith was all-encompassing in her life to guide her down his life’s journey. Religion was for people SEEKING the way to spiritual enlightenment.

“I believe in reaching out to others in seeking God.
My most important principles are human rights, a sense of righteousness, dignity of the person, justice, kindness and giving. And especially, peace between all peoples and nations, which greatly pleases Allah: ‘Whereby Allah guides him who seeks good pleasure unto paths of peace’ (5:16).
Jesus also once said that “you shall know people by the fruits that they bear” – fruits of faith, such as compassion, justice, forgiveness, reconciliation or peace.
So most Christians hold the same values as us.

I also value tolerance and harmony amongst diverse groups of peoples. So I reject “religious totalarism. And the Koran forbids transgression. The Holy Book promotes patience for the sake of peace.
It warns against initiating hostilities. ‘Fight in the way of Allah against those who fight against you, but begin not hostilities. Lo! Allah loves not agressors’ (2:190).

So you see we Muslims are often misunderstood by the Western media. We are expressly told in the Koran to avoid violence and refrain from initiating attacks. However, if confrontation is inevitable, the Koran gives instructions to fight back in self defense. The Holy Book promotes reconciliation, rather than vengeance; as it’s always better to forgive another’s transgressions.

The Koran preaches tolerance towards other religions. We are to seek peaceful co-existence among diverse groups of various regions. ‘Allah forbids you, not those who warred not against you on account of religion and drive you not out from your homes, that you should show them kindness and deal justly with them. Lo! Allah loves the just dealers’ ( 60:8). As a result, it is compulsory for every Muslim to be kind and just to his or her neighbouring non-Muslim.

As regards the principles of tolerance, Allah also says: ‘Unto each nation have We given sacred rites which they are to perform; so let them not dispute with you of the matter, but summon yourself unto your Lord. Lo! You indeed follow right guidance. And if they wrangle with you, say: Allah is best aware of what you do. Allah will judge between you on the Day of Resurrection concerning that wherein you used to differ’ (22:67-69).
So the Koran makes it quite clear that we Muslims should let other groups practice their religion in peace.

In my life I am a person who always tries to avoid conflict, to be forgiving and indulgent towards other faiths, like
the Christians and Jews. Because God’s way sees the supreme goodness of God… and that’s the best way to live. By the personal grace of “being”. So every day I’m in touch with an infinite, personal God. I believe that everybody is made in the image of God and consequently that every person, no matter their standing in life has some level of dignity.

“It is time for people of good will from every faith and nation to recognise that a terrible danger threatens humanity. We must set aside our international and partisan bickering and join to confront the danger that lies before us.”
– Abdurrahman Wahid, former President of Indonesia, in the ‘Wall Street Journal’.

Islam preaches tolerance towards other religions. Wahid says: Religious fanatics – either purposely or out of ignorance – pervert Islam into a dogma of intolerance, hatred and bloodshed. The most effective way to overcome Islamist extremism is to explain what Islam truly is to Muslims and Non-Muslims alike… Without that explanation, people will tend to accept the unrefuted extremist view – further radicalising Muslims and turning the rest of the world against Islam itself…Our goal must be to illuminate the hearts and minds of humanity, and offer a compelling alternate vision of Islam, one that banishes the fanatical ideology of hatred to the darkness from which it emerged.”

‘Lo, Allah is able to do all things!'(2:109)”

(Based upon a speech by Abdurrahman Wahid, former President of Indonesia, as reported in the ‘Wall Street Journal’).

“We believe in Allah and that which is revealed unto us, and that which was revealed to Abraham and Ishmael, and Isaac and Jacob, and the tribes, and that which Moses and Jesus received, and that which the prophets received from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and unto Him we have surrendered.”
(2:136).
*

CHAPTER TWO: ISHMAIL

It was March in the year 2004. The Imam (elite scholar) started off my telling us that our strict duty as followers of Islam, our calling as young warriors was strict adherance to the teachings of the Koran and the Sunnah.

On the first anniversary of the American invasion of my beloved country Iraq, the ‘cradle of civilisation’, the Imam (elite scholar) declared that Jihad in battle was compulsory on every Muslim. The US and British occupation was an act of hostility against Muslim land, and the Imam explained to us that the duty of Muslims was to protect their land. We were being opressed by the invaders from the evil West, who are trying to spread Bush’s American Christian message to us Arabs in the Middle East.
A clear violent attack against us Muslims and our way of life, our entire culture has been under way for some time now.

The Imam (elite scholar) declared that “Jihad in battle was compulsory on every Muslim; because of the American invasion of his beloved Iraq, the ‘cradle of civilisation’.” “It’s hostility against Muslim land, and it is the duty of Muslims to protect their land.”

“So we will fight and defeat the enemy on the battlefield.
And of course, we are committing an act for which Allah will reward us greatly. I’ll go straight to Heaven as a martyr for killing members of the hated enemy with me. ‘Those who believe do battle for the cause of Allah; and those who disbelieve do battle for the cause of idols. So fight the minions of the devil’ (4:76).

We ‘Mujahideen’ will fight to the death in the name of Jihad and kill all the infidels who have invaded our country. With Allah at our side we will be victorious in battle and the ‘shaheed’ will be abundantly rewarded in Heaven.
Because the Prophet Mohammed said that he who is killed for his religion is a martyr…and the Koran guarantees every martyr a place in Heaven.
The martyr’s soul flies straight to Heaven according to our Holy Book. It says: ‘Think not of those who are slain in the way of Allah, as dead.  Nay, they are living. With their Lord they have provision’ (3:169). This promise by Allah that all ‘shaheeds’ go to Heaven strengthens the will of us soldiers in battle. We have no fear of death in combatting the enemy. Because I KNOW that if I should die, Allah will take my soul right up to Heaven.

‘And slay them wherever you find them, and drive them out of the places whence they drove you out, for persecution is worse than slaughter’ (verse 191).

So

We WILL fight the enemy back. We WILL slay the infidels on the battlefields.”

Information on the Koran extracted from ‘The Everything Koran Book’ by Duaa Anwar, Publisher Adams Media Avon Masachusetts (www.everything.com)

CHAPTER THREE: MOHAMED (or ISAAC)

Mohamed Prasad was a doctor, who felt his mission in life was to try and alleviate human suffering. Mohamed had always been concerned with human rights.  His strong Islamic faith was all-encompassing in his life to guide him down his life’s journey. Religion was for people SEEKING the way to spiritual enlightenment.

“I believe in reaching out to others in seeking God.
My most important principles are human rights, a sense of righteousness, dignity of the person, justice, kindness and giving. And especially, peace between all peoples and nations,  which greatly pleases Allah: ‘Whereby Allah guides him who seeks good pleasure unto paths of peace'(5:16).
Jesus also once said that “you shall know people by the fruits that they bear” – fruits of faith, such as compassion, justice, forgiveness, reconciliation or peace.
So most Christians hold the same values as us.

I also value tolerance and harmony amongst diverse groups of peoples. So I reject “religious totalaranism. And the Koran forbids transgression. The Holy Book promotes patience for the sake of peace.
It warns against initiating hostilities. ‘Fight in the way of Allah against those who fight against you, but begin not hostilities. Lo! Allah loves not agressors’ (2:190).

So you see we Muslims are often misunderstood by the Western media. We are expressly told in the Koran to avoid violence and refrain from initiating attacks. However, if confrontation is inevitable, the Koran gives instructions to fight back in self defense. The Holy Book promotes reconciliation, rather than vengeance; as it’s always better to forgive another’s transgressions.

The Koran preaches tolerance towards other religions. We are to seek peaceful co-existence among diverse groups of various regions. ‘Allah forbids you, not those who warred not against you on account of religion and drive you not out from your homes, that you should show them kindness and deal justly with them. Lo! Allah loves the just dealers’ (60:8). As a result, it is compulsory for every Muslim to be kind and just to his or her neighbouring non-Muslim.

As regards the principles of tolerance, Allah also says: ‘Unto each nation have We given sacred rites, which they are to perform; so let them not dispute with you of the matter; but summon yourself unto your Lord. Lo! You indeed follow right guidance. And if they wrangle with you, say: ‘Allah is best aware of what you do. Allah will judge between you on the Day of Resurrection concerning that wherein you used to differ’ (22:67-69).
So the Koran makes it quite clear that we Muslims should let other groups practice their religion in peace.

In my life I am a person who always tries to avoid conflict, to be forgiving and indulgent towards other faiths, like
the Christians and Jews. Because God’s way sees the supreme goodness of God…and that’s the best way to live. By the personal grace of “being”. So every day I’m in touch with an infinite, personal God. I believe that everybody is made in the image of God and consequently that every person, no matter their standing in life has some level of dignity.

As Abdurrahman Wahid, former President of Indonesia, one said:”It is time for people of good will from every faith and nation to recognise that a terrible danger threatens humanity. We must set aside our international and partisan bickering and join to confront the danger that lies before us.”
So Islam preaches tolerance towards other religions. Wahid also says: “Religious fanatics – either purposely or out of ignorance – pervert Islam into a dogma of intolerance, hatred and bloodshed. The most effective way to overcome Islamist extremism is to explain what Islam truly is to Muslims and Non-Muslims alike… Without that explanation, people will tend to accept the unrefuted extremist view – further radicalising Muslims and turning the rest of the world against Islam itself…Therefore our goal must be to illuminate the hearts and minds of humanity, and offer a compelling alternate vision of Islam, one that banishes the fanatical ideology of hatred to the darkness from which it emerged.”

‘Lo, Allah is able to do all things!'(2:109)”

(Based upon a speech by Abdurrahman Wahid, former President of Indonesia, as reported in the ‘Wall Street Journal’).

*
Wearily Mohamed Prasad concluded his adress with these words: “We believe in Allah and that which is revealed unto us, and that which was revealed to Abraham and Ishmael, and Isaac and Jacob, and the tribes, and that which Moses and Jesus received, and that which the prophets received from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and unto Him we have surrendered.”
(2:136)

WESTERNISATION IS NOT THE WAY TO CLOSE GAPS IN THE MIDDLE EAST
by Ahmed Zewail

“Westerners should all build bridges of progress and peace with an attempt at understanding the profound role of pride and faith in the lives of us Muslims.

Incidentally, why can’t reason and faith co-exist with faith – an argument settled for Christians centuries ago; but a question which Islam has not fully begun adressing.

Vitally, the West’s and particularly the USA’s support of undemocratic regimes for the sake of securing resources and influence, and insensitivity to our culture and faith.

The West should chart a very different foreign policy with the aim of gaining the confidence and co-operation of Muslims for solving complex conflicts.

In the Middle East it is clear that peace will never be reached without solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict – with a lasting solution. A two-state permanent solution must be found and enforced.

Force and isolation from western powers will not solve these problems in our part of the world. Instead we need a comprehensive policy of fairness and firmness, perhaps established in an international conference and enforced by the United Nations.

Foreign aid should be redirected towards economic development and direct aid towards building human capacity.

In an interdependent world, it is in the best interests of both the West and the Muslim world to communicate through dialogue and to achieve global stability and mutual benefits from technology, commerce, energy and cultures.

We must not permit the creation of barriers through rhetorical concepts such as ‘clash of civilisations’ or ‘conflict of religions’, which are of no value to the future of our world.”
The West and Islam need not be in conflict forever.”

Ahmed Zewail

from a report in ‘The Independent’ (from NZ Herald 23 October 2006)

Ahmed Zewail is the Linus Pauling Chair professor of chemistry and professor of physics at the California Institute of Technology. He is the only Arab Muslim to be awarded the Nobel Prize in science, which he received in 1999

*            *

The various books that Craig “felt inspired to write” are available at http://www.webng.com/writernz/index.html
http://www.creativekiwis.com/books.html http://www.lulu.com/craiglock and http://www.myspace.com/writercraig


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