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Question 43.

Are we Christians ? Then why all the hate, it is wrong to hate anyone ask your priest?

 

Answer to Question 43.

 

Christianity is not a religion, it is a way of life; it is living a life in Christ who is the only truth. By everything that we do we must imitate our Lord, and only by following his way of life and teachings can we truly be called a Christian. Christ is our guide for what is right and wrong. There has been a lot of hate expressed in the past week over the suicide bomber so we need to ask if Christ would hate anyone. If we believe that Christ would show hate at this person then those people who expressed their hate are fully justified, but if the answer is that Christ would never show hate to any person then those same people are not following a life in Christ and therefore forfeit the right to be called a Christian. 

 

In the Old Testament God gave us the 10 Commandments and many other commandments teaching us how to live with our neighbours in peace. In the New Testament Christ summarised these laws into just two commandments: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” And “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 22: 36-40) Loving one’s neighbour also means to love one’s enemy for as Christ said in another place: “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.” (Matthew (5: 44)  Loving those who do harm to us or to our loved ones is not some easy task; it can take years to pull out the hatred (and prejudice) from our hearts especially when we have been socially preconditioned to hate certain people or groups from our youth.

 

Having said this, it does not mean that as Christians we are not allowed to hate anything. There is a “Holy Hate” which we must also apply to our lives, but to understand this we must first see what we must love. 

 

In general we must love God and all his creation. If we love God then we must also love everything he has created because they proceeded from God. Man is a special creation of God and he was made in the image and likeness of God so we must learn to show love to everyman. In the parable of the Last Judgement (Matthew 25:31-46) Christ makes it clear that we will not be judged because we were “good Christians” by attending all the services, by fasting, by crossing ourselves a hundred times a day, by making prostrations etc. The only criterion with which we will be judged is love and how we expressed this love to our fellow men. If we cannot love our fellow man then in truth we don’t love Christ, because he has created each man in his own image and likeness. I will repeat what I wrote last week in an answer to a question: Christian love transcends above someone’s physical appearance, social standing, ethnic origin, intellectual capacity and reaches the soul, the unique personal root of a human being where the image of God is. 

 

So what is Holy Hatred? It is the rejection of everything that is not from God.  Evil, war, violence, wrong teachings contrary to the New Testament and contrary to the teachings of the one True Church are all from the devil and must be hated as being things that were introduced into human societies to lead and delude men away from God’s love. How then do we apply this holy hatred to the recent brutal event and other similar actions that are committed with the violent intent of killing and harming as many innocent people as possible?  The acts themselves must be hated and condemned as acts against humanity and against God. Any premeditated killing of another human being is a deliberate destruction of God’s image. Thus hatred in this sense is justified and we have a duty to judge and condemn the action.

 

But the person carrying out the atrocious act is another human being who also was created in the image of God. He has made himself an enemy of God’s people and God himself, but Christ said that we must love our enemies and even do good to them and pray for them. WHY?  Firstly, because he is our brother: if God is the father of all men then we are all brothers and sisters; we are all part of each other. God is no respecter of persons and as our Father he loves all his children the same and wants all people to come to know him in the Holy Spirit. 

 

If our biological brother suddenly showed signs of violent behaviour would we not try to find out what caused this sudden change in his behaviour? Would we not seek to help him come to his senses either through medical means or spiritual? Would we disown him or would we continue to love him and pray for him?  A suicide bomber is a person spiritually disturbed because no one in their right mind would contemplate suicide if he had a healthy mind. In reality he too is a victim. Because he has fallen into the snares of the devil, he has been deluded and brainwashed to believe that he is doing God’s work: that he is cleansing the world of God’s enemies. He has been made to believe that if he dies while engaged in “holy war” he will be assured of entering heaven: the gates of paradise will open for him and as a martyr of the faith, rich heavenly rewards will await him.

 

Can people be so naive and gullible? Sadly yes. They are people who have been blinded by a religion which sanctions force, if necessary, to advance its purposes.  It is common to read articles and hear speeches in the present crisis that describe Islam as a peace-loving religion. But is this really accurate? It is one thing to say that there are many peace-loving Muslims, which I sincerely believe, but quite another thing to say that Islam is a peace-loving religion. 

 

Last week someone published a post showing that the religious writings of Islam condone the killing of infidels and the killing of their own when they disown the faith. Sadly it received many negative comments with some accusing him of causing propaganda. The person felt compelled to delete his post and sadly left the group. When I first began posting things concerning the Orthodox Church he continually attacked everything I wrote on the church, but in time we learnt to be friends with respect for each other’s opinion.  I could confirm what he said because I have baptized many Muslims into the Orthodox Church and heard of at least one occasion when one of those that I baptized was beheaded when it became known.

 

But I don’t want to prove that Islam teaches violence when history can do that. I would just like for everyone to compare the two founders of Islam and Christianity.  Muhammad the founder of Islam rode into Mecca on a stallion with a sword in hand and a 10,000 strong army to conquer by force. By contrast, Jesus the founder of Christianity saddled up a donkey to ride into Jerusalem to humbly suffer and die for the sins of the world. Herein lies the difference. Muhammad founded a religion that condoned the use of the sword. Jesus founded a religion based on love and humility.