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Monday, 18 March 2019 10:58

Çanakkalede savaş son hızla sürerken, gencecik insanlar birer birer toprağa düşerken, 17. Alayın Kahraman Komutanı Yarbay Hasan Bey de askerleriyle birlikte savaşıyor, düşman siperlerine doğru korkusuzca ilerliyordu. İlerleme sırasında bir çeşmeye yaklaştılar ve su içmek için askerlerine izin verdi Hasan Bey, ancak çeşmenin başında bir köpek vardı ve askerler onu kovalamaya çalışıyordu. Köpeğin her yeri yara bere içerisindeydi, çok bitkin haldeydi ve tüyleri dökülmüş, perişan haldeydi.

Hasan Bey köpeği kovalayan askerlerini durdurdu ve o bitap düşmüş köpeği kucağına aldı. Ona bizzat eliyle çeşmeden su alarak su içirdi. Sonra da karnını doyurdu ve köpeği kucağına alarak yoluna devam etti. Bir daha da yanından ayırmadı. Artık askerlerle birlikte geziyor, siperlere giriyor, cenk ediyordu. Ama hala bir adı yoktu ve Hasan Bey de ona Canberk adını koydu. #Canberk artık bir Türk ordusu neferiydi. Mehmetçiklerin dostuydu. Herkes onu çok seviyordu. Zamanla tüyleri yeniden çıktı, gelişti, yaraları da düzeldi. Askerlerden bazıları insanların hayvanlara olan ilgisi ve sevgisinin sebebini neden anlamıyor ve soruyorlardı. ”Komutanım, bu köpeğe neden bu kadar alaka gösteriyorsunuz? Hasan Bey de “O da bir can taşıyor. Sizi, bizi ondan ayıran bir şey yok ve Allah’ın huzuruna geldiğimde bu köpeğe neden merhamet etmedin, demesinden korkuyorum!” demişti.


Canberk’in hayatı değişmişti ama savaşta değişen bir şey yoktu. Savaş tüm acımasızlığı ile sürerken yaralı bir Fransız askerine yardım etmek için yanına yaklaşan Hasan Bey, savaş içinde canavarlaşmış, insanlıktan çıkmış ve iyiliği göremeyen Fransız’ın hançeriyle olduğu yere yığıldı. Olanı uzaktan fark eden Canberk koşup oraya geldi ve hemen Hasan Bey’in yanına çöktü. Ellerini yalıyordu, yüzünü yalıyordu, havlıyor ona cesaret vermeye çalışıyordu. Sonradan hemen herkes yanına koştu ama ne var ki, yarası çok ağırdı ve maalesef Hasan Bey orada can verdi.

Ve kahraman Mehmetçikler de çok üzülse de savaş tüm hızıyla sürdüğünden ve Hasan Bey’i uğruna savaştığı, öldüğü toprağa emanet etme vakti geldiğinden ona bir mezar kazdılar. Hasan Bey’in üzerine Türk bayrağını örttüler. Canberk de bu sırada Hasan Bey’in ayağının ucunda yatmaktadır. O da bayrağın altında yatmaya başladı. Mehmetçikler, Yarbay Hasan Bey’i defnetmek için bayrağı kaldırdılar ve Canberk hala orada yatmaktadır. Canberk kalkmaz, biraz daha kaldırmak isterler ama Canberk yerinden kıpırdamaz. Biraz daha uğraştıklarında da #Canberk’in de öldüğünü fark ettiler. Tüm Mehmetçikler daha da çok üzülmüşler, Canberk ve Hasan Bey’in dostluğu karşısında saygıyla eğilmişler ve daha sonra Yarbay Hasan’ı toprağa verirler ve çok sevdiği ve hiç yanından ayırmadığı Canberki de ayak ucunda toprağa verdiler.
Böylesine sevgi ve büyük bir inançla hayatını veren, bugün bu topraklarda köle olmadan yaşatmamızı sağlayan her biri kahraman tüm şehitlerimizi ve Başkomutan Mustafa Kemal Atatürk'ü saygı, sevgi ve minnetle anıyoruz.

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Monday, 18 March 2019 00:00

Deputy of primary education minister of education:
Training in mother's language is not possible.
Rezvan Hakim Zadeh said: to teach the language of mother, it is not possible because it is because of the loss of students because they lose the opportunities of academic success; of course, the world research also confirms this.

March 18, 1397 latest news, suggestion of editor, politics, special 52 views

To the report of yul press; Rezvan Hakim Zadeh Deputy Primary Education Minister of education in said vogue with fars about "the principle of 15 basic law / the right to teach mother language" stated: what is the policy of the ministry of education, according to the principle The law is basic; in the constitution, the teaching of the mother language has not said, but it is a title that the teaching of language and literature of the tribes beside the Persian language is free.

He continued: to teach the language of mother, it is not possible because it is to the loss of students because they will lose the opportunities of academic success; of course, the world research also confirms this.

Hakim Zadeh by stating that in the festival of the Iranian Islamic identity of children, one of the items in the program was that we paid attention to the culture and local language, he said, " it means beside that we teach the language of norm and measure to children, literature and language culture We teach a mother to the students too.

He reiterated: the policy of the ministry of education in preschool and elementary school is the attention of ethnic literature, and in this way, we have numerous products, it means teaching in Persian, but we teach ethnic and local literature also to the students who are in the format of Stories and poems are local.

yolpress.ir

Monday, 18 March 2019 00:00

پان ترکیسم مغلطه‌ای در دهان به اصطلاح اصلاح‌طلبی بنام کواکبیان!
در جدیدترین شماره روزنامه مردم‌سالاری به مدیر مسئولی مصطفی کواکبیان، مطلبی در راستای برخورد جدی با پیشنهاد زندان و حتی اعدام برای پان ترکها در ایران چاپ گردیده است. البته پرداختن به واژه پان ترکیسم در ایران و از طرفی چرایی پرداختن به این موضوعات از طرف شخص کواکبیان ساعتها وقت می طلبد لذا به اختصار به بررسی این موضوع می پردازیم .

اسفند ۲۲, ۱۳۹۷ آخرین اخبار, پیشنهاد سردبیر, مقاله و یادداشت, ویژه درج دیدگاه

یول‌پرس: در مورد مطلب درج شده در روزنامه مردم سالاری به مدیریت آقای کواکبیان شناخت شخصیت این فرد و نوع تفکرات ایشان حائز اهمیت می باشد چرا که مطالب منتشره توسط یک فرد و یا نشریات وابسته به وی بیانگر خط فکری و اندیشه وی می‌باشد. کواکبیان را اکثر مردم با برخی موضعگیری غیر منطقی و گاها بی‌ثباتش بعنوان یکی از نمایندگان طیف موسوم به اصلاحات در مجلس می‌شناسند. فرد به اصطلاح اصلاح‌طلبی که تا به امروز نتوانسته در برخی رفتارها و گفتارهای غیر قابل قبول و مردود خویش، بازبینی و اصلاحی را بوجود آورد .

آقای کواکبیان بیشتر با کلیپی که در فضای مجازی به تمسخر مردم تورک اقدام نموده بود، در بین آذربایجانیها شناخته شده است.

حامد یگانه پور- فعال فرهنگی و سیاسی
فردیکه همچون بسیاری از بیماران گرفتار در تفکرات شئونیستی با پارانوئید نوع حاد، تورکان و مردم آذربایجان را به چشم حقارت می نگرد.

جناب آقای کواکبیان عقل حکم می نماید شما بعنوان یک نماینده مجلس و مدیر مسئول یک روزنامه‌ای که مدعی اصلاح طلبی و دمکراسی خواهی می‌باشد، مسائل را از دید یک وکیل ملت و یک ژورنالیست بنگرید نه چون صاحبان اندیشه شئونیستی پیرو مکتب پهلوی هر از چندگاهی با مطالب سخیف و نسنجیده لمپنیستی در فضای مجازی و یا نشریه خویش در این شرایط حساس آب بر آسیاب دشمن ریخته و موجبات همراهی و شادی اپوزسیون خارج نشین با محوریت پهلوی را فراهم سازید .

آقای کواکبیان بیش از چهل سال از عمر جمهوری اسلامی ایران می گذرد ولی حضرتعالی هنوز نتوانسته آید خود را از قید و بند تفکرات منسوخ پان آریایستی دوران پهلوی برهانید .

جناب کواکبیان در ایران پان ترکیست نه ولی مطمئنا هویت طلب وجود دارد. شما بعنوان یک فرد مدعی و سیاسی قطعا باید قدرت تمیز بین دو واژه هویت طلب و پان بودن (پان ترکیسم) را داشته باشید. اگر در علوم رفتاری و جامعه شناختی مطالعه فرمایید رفتار پان در یک جامعه در دو حالت ظهور می نماید .

اولی در شرایطی که یک اندیشه و تفکر در جامعه‌ای در قدرت کامل و مطلق قرار گیرد که توام با دیکتاتوری خواهد بود و در حالت دوم در شرایطی است که یک تفکر و اندیشه و خواستگاه از طرف قدرت حاکم به شدت قلع و قم و سرکوب گردد. حال حضرتعالی بر استناد کدام مورد وجود و فعالیت پان ترکیسم در ایران را مورد تأیید قرار می دهید؟ در کشوری که حدود چهل میلیون تورک در آن زندگی می نمایند و در طول تاریخ جهت حفظ این مرز و بوم مجاهدت ها نموده اند، حال شما جرات پان نامیدن آنها را از کجا می یابید؟ از دیدگاه دینی تاریخ گواه است که بسط و گسترش اسلام در جهان و ترویج مذهب شیعه علوی در ایران مرهون همین مردمان است بطوریکه پیامبر اسلام (ص) تورکان را سیف الاسلام نامیدند. حال شما چگونه از بکار گیری واژه پان در مورد این مردم سخن بر زبان می رانید؟

در حالیکه هنوز مجاهدت‌های این مردم در هشت سال جنگ تحمیلی و نام و خاطره باکری ها، کسایی‌ها، تجلایی‌ها و بسیاری سرداران شهید تورک بر سر زبانها می باشد، شما چگونه به خود اجازه بکار بری واژه پان را در مورد این مردمان می دهید؟

جناب آقای کواکبیان اگر واقعا دل شما به حال این کشور می سوزد بهتر است با اصلاح افکار خویش در مقابل اندیشه منسوخ پان‌آریاییستی قد علم نمایید. اندیشه زهر آگینی که با اختلاف افکنی هم وحدت ملی و هم دین اسلام را نشانه گرفته است. اندیشه ای که با تبلیغ بازگشت به اصل ایرانیت با رسوخ و نفوذ بر ارکان حساس کشور در صدد اجرای سیاست‌های ضد ملی و ضد دینی با محوریت صهیونیستی، ترویج اندیشه های دروغین و تحریفاتی بنام کوروش کبیر و معرفی کتاب شاهنامه بجای کتاب مقدس قرآن را در دستور کار خویش دارد .

آقای کواکبیان با وجود تحریفها و تحقیرها، کاستی ها و تبعیض‌ها، ممانعت از اجرای برخی اصول قانون اساسی چون اصل پانزده و بسیاری موارد دیگر، مناعت طبع، تاریخ پر افتخار و فرهنگ والای مردم دیار آذربایجان و تورکان ایران مانع از ترویج اندیشه پان در بینشان می گردد چرا که این مردم، صاحبان اندیشه بیمار پان آریاییستی و شئونیستی را همتراز اندیشه اصیل و دمکرات خویش نمی دانند تا در مقابل آن اجازه ظهور و رشد تفکرات پان را در بین خویش بدهند و اصولا نیازی بدان ندارند .

با آرزوی اندیشه و تفکر قبل بیان هر مطلب و اقدامی

اشتراک گذاری

yolpress.ir

Monday, 18 March 2019 00:00

Jak widać, świat zmierza w kierunku wojny nuklearnej. Niestety, nie da się jej powstrzymać. Ta wojna będzie światową nie tylko z nazwy. Pokój będzie zabrany z ziemi. Użyty też będzie "wielki miecz" (Objawienie 6:4). Jezus tak go scharakteryzował: "φοβητρα τε και σημεια απ ουρανου μεγαλα εσται" - "budzące postrach także i niezwykłe zjawiska z nieba potężne będą" (Łukasza 21:11, 1550 Stephanus New Testament). W wielu starożytnych manuskryptach tekst ten kończy się zwrotem: "και χειμωνες" - "i mrozy". 


Peszitta aramejska: "וסתוא רורבא נהוון" - "i mrozy wielkie będą". My to dzisiaj nazywamy zimą nuklearną.
W Marka 13:8, zaraz po słowach: "będą niedobory żywności" są także słowa: "και ταραχαι" - "i nieporządki" (1550 Stephanus New Testament). 
Aramejska Peszitta: "ושגושיא" - "i zamęt", (zamieszanie) o stanie porządku publicznego.
W wyniku użycia tego "wielkiego miecza" wystąpią także znaczne wstrząsy, braki żywności i epidemie wzdłuż i wszerz regionów (Łukasza 21:11).

Jezus ostrzega nas tutaj przed zagrożeniami wynikającymi z tej wojny. Aby przetrwać, trzeba się na to wszystko przygotować. Zlekceważenie któregokolwiek z tych zagrożeń może drogo kosztować.

Ryszard Ewiak ,Polonya
Saturday, 16 March 2019 05:42

By Jeannie Law, Christian Post Reporter

Meditation has risen in popularity in the U.S. by threefold since 2012. The custom has been around for thousands of years and is observed in nearly every religion but not many people know which forms of meditation actually come from the Bible.

The Christian Post decided to take a closer look at the practice of Christian meditation and some of the latest apps for it, including Soultime and Abide. CP spoke with some of the apps' creators as well as pastors who revealed how important it is for Christ followers to understand meditation while exposing some of the rituals that have nothing to do with Christianity.

Meditation practices can be found in Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity, Judaism and Islam. Some people practice meditation independent of any religion but are likewise looking for a sense of peace and insightfulness offered through the religious practices.

Workplaces throughout the United States are providing meditative breaks for their employees to help them “de-stress” and more schools are incorporating it into their schedules for young students. Psychotherapeutic techniques provided by physicians also sometimes include meditation to help those suffering from mental illnesses.

There are several varieties of meditation. Here are the six majors ones:

  • Spiritual Meditation can be linked to Christianity because it involves prayer and reflection as one seeks a deeper connection with God

  • Mindfulness Meditation originates from Buddhist teachings and instructs participants to pay attention to their thoughts without judgment or engaging them

  • Focused Meditation involves one using any of their five senses to focus their attention on something internal.

  • Mantra Meditation is linked to Hindu and Buddhist traditions and involves using repetitive sounds, such as the popular “om” in hopes to clear the participant's mind.

  • Transcendental Meditation is labeled one of the most popular forms of meditation. It was founded by an Indian guru and is reportedly the most studied type of meditation by scientists. Similar to mantra meditation but more specific, it’s based on different factors that can include someone’s birth year or gender.

  • Movement Meditation is linked to yoga. This practice can include walking, gardening, or other forms of lite motion in which the movement guides.

The following section will explore what Christian meditation is, what it’s not and some tools that were created to assist Christians in meditation.

What is Christian meditation?

Mike Winger, associate pastor at Hosanna Christian Fellowship in California and a popular YouTube Bible teacher, cited the book of Joshua to explain what the word "meditate" means.

"This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success." (Joshua 1:8)

"Meditate," Winger said, "is a Hebrew word that has a range of meaning but in the context of this passage it is talking about speaking in a quiet voice like when you are really thinking something through. You could picture someone reading to themselves quietly or working out a problem out loud. This is what I call 'thinking out loud.'

"It isn’t really related to the idea of monks harmonizing in deep guttural tones with indistinct words. It’s a person who is thinking deeply and thoroughly about the Bible."

The type of meditation the Bible is encouraging is not a way of "feeling good" but rather, a way of learning Scripture "so that we can do what it says," Winger clarified.

"Every time you listen to a Bible study, read the text of Scripture or just sit and mull over the meaning of the Bible, you are doing this kind of meditation, just so long as the end result is that you would obey it. The direct application is to Joshua’s people at the time but the principle of 'studying the Bible to obey what it says' applies to us today."

Along with meditating on the Word of God, Scripture encourages Christians to meditate on who God is and what He has done, Winger added.

"There are actually several times in the Bible where someone considers who God is and it changes their mentality in very positive ways. After many chapters of confusion and complaining, Job sees God and comes to realize how glorious, sovereign and wise God is. This causes Job to see his own life in a new light and to stop his complaints against God," the pastor explained.

He also cited Psalm 73 to note how the psalmist "stops grieving over the wickedness of ungodly people when he goes into the temple and remembers that God is the judge of all" and then "sets himself on the path of just trusting and obeying God."

"We do need to stop and think about who God is, what God has done and what God has promised to do; it’s a remedy to all manner of wrong thinking."

Meditation is very much a Christian discipline but it has largely been neglected, Danny Silk, a leader at Bethel Church in California and spokesperson for the Christian meditation app Soultime, lamented. And not many Christians even know how to meditate.

Christians should meditate daily, he stressed. That's how they can "grow in their experience of peace and joy and faith."

Erwin McManus, who leads Mosaic Church in Los Angeles and is author of the new book The Way of the Warrior, echoed the need to meditate at least 30 minutes a day.

"If you don't take time away from the world around you, you're going to get pulled down by the world around you," McManus said.

"What God wants you to do is to meditate on the things from above. God wants you to meditate on the very things that are good and true, and beautiful," he emphasized.

"But the problem is that even neuroscience tells us that we need 30 minutes to an hour every day without any outside stimulus for our brain to be healthy. Thousands of years ago, before we understood neuroscience, the Bible understood us, God understood us and God knew we needed to meditate. He knew we needed to recharge. He knew that our brains needed to reflect."

There's no better example than Jesus when it comes to meditation.

"Jesus himself sets the standard of intimacy with God," said Russ Jones, producer of the Abide Prayer & Meditation App. "The Gospels reveal Jesus continuously withdrew from His daily routine to pray, meditate and be alone with the Father. This intimacy with God gives us wisdom and peace to navigate what life brings and where God wants to lead. If the goal of the believer is to seek God in all we do, then doing as Jesus did is the key."

What form of meditation is not associated with Christianity?

Silk believes many Christian leaders have abandoned the meditation practice "to the occult and the New Age probably largely because Christian leaders that are so measured by arguments and the ability to defend your faith in the court of law instead of in the court of character or experience."

Similarly, McManus suggested that New Age practices have become popular because Christians simply haven't addressed meditation "honestly or effectively." Moreover, "Christians don't meditate. We don't pray."

Neil Ahlsten, creator of the Abide Prayer & Meditation App, observed that even though the Bible "gives clear instructions on how to meditate on Scripture and the benefits you get from it," Christians are "not hearing the biblical facts on why and how to meditate."

"Instead, we hear pop culture telling us to do Buddhist or Hindu meditations. Then we think that meditation is part of other religions and thus not in the Bible," he pointed out.

"I worry that the popularity of Eastern meditation in our culture will make Christians think that all meditation is bad, even though it’s clearly there in the Bible. Why should we let Satan control the word meditation? I want to reclaim a biblical view of meditation and help people benefit from God’s Word."

Specifically, some of the unbiblical meditation practices that are popular today include ones taken from Buddhism — where one meditates on "nothing" and the goal is nothingness, McManus said.

"That is the ultimate goal of Buddhism, for you to have the elimination of all desire," the Los Angeles pastor explained.

How does that contrast with Christianity?

"Jesus' goal is not nothingness, it's fullness," McManus underscored.

Rather than meditating on nothing, McManus said he meditates "on the truth of what God is speaking into my life. I would rather be in a conversation with the Creator of the universe than to be trying to disconnect myself into nothingness."

Jones, of the Abide app, said that the practice of "emptying your mind" is not only unbiblical but also dangerous for Christians.

"The kind of meditation discussed in Scripture encourages filling a believer's mind with God’s wisdom. This practice greatly differs from New Age and Eastern forms of meditation," Jones argued.

From what he has observed, Winger is concerned that people are co-opting various unbiblical meditation practices "to reinforce all kinds of beliefs with an aim toward helping you feel good (whether they are true or not)."

"They sometimes make the goal of meditation a kind of 'mindfulness' which is sadly a reinforcing of these various false teachings; just trying to get you to deeply believe in the doctrines of Hinduism or Buddhism or Gnosticism (yeah, there’s actually a Gnostic church in LA even today)," he said.

"This is a type of meditation-reinforced delusion and it is an example of how meditation can be used to get people to believe things that aren’t true."

What is the goal of a Christian meditation app?

Over the past year, two Christian meditation apps that have emerged are Soultime and Abide.

Soultime was founded by Mark Wagner, who is based in London. With Buddhist and secular apps already out there, he felt the need for a Christian meditation app. 

Explaining how Christian meditation works, he told Premier Christian Radio, "This is not an intellectual process so much as a spiritual and emotional process of trying to understand what it is that our hearts are believing. To do that, we need a certain amount of calm, a certain amount of peace, we need a certain amount of time." 

Soultime helps believers do that through music, graphics and a series of guided meditations with various themes, including "Jesus carries our anxieties away," "Freedom with Forgiveness," and "Exploring the Lord's Prayer."

Similar to other meditation apps that are popular, while the Soultime app is open, it plays sounds of nature such as the wind and birds chirping. It includes a daily "mood check" and features calming music and voices who guide users through themed meditations.

Silk explained, "Soultime is very much about building a hunger for the presence of God, the voice of God, the person of Jesus Christ. Soultime is not just to simply to relax you or simply to empty your mind or simply to get in touch with your body or whatever. It's very much to build, strengthen, tune your heart with the Word of God with the voice of God, the presence of God.

"It’s going to be focused on Jesus the focus on the presence of God the focus on the Bible. No other apps are focused on that."

Silk is among several "guides" featured in the app who help users through a meditation.

He believes many Christians have "turned spiritual activity into intellectual activity" when "in fact, spirituality has a lot to do with contemplation and paying attention to your body's reactions to what's going on with your emotions."

"Meditation," he continued, "really moves it away from this almost distracting place of intellectualism over to a place that is much more likely to generate a spiritual reality and development and momentum around truth and joy and peace.

"People in this generation, they want to experience the truth. ... They want to experience this Gospel, this power, this freedom that Jesus claims to have given us. So meditation is a highway into that place of promises that Jesus has given us."

Silk said he does a "mini Sozo prayer" in his meditations. He poses such questions as: "Are there any lies that I am believing about this area of my life?" "What is the truth that you want me to believe?" "Do I need to forgive anyone?" 

"Many times in a meditation, there's a block that's going to be a place where my soul is all knotted up. My Spirit wants to be free but my soul has this knot," he said.

But the app has drawn some criticism.

After reviewing Soultime, Winger found it to be a mixed bag of both good, solid teaching and false teaching.

"The foundational consistency in the various meditations that I listened to is to take a verse of Scripture and have someone sharing thoughts on it. At the heart of it, this is exactly what biblical meditation should look like!" Winger said, applauding that aspect of the app.

But he found some meditations were distorting biblical truth.

"A meditation called ‘Is God For You,’ under the category ‘Money,’ is very confusing and seems to encourage misunderstanding and misapplying Romans 8:31," Winger said, giving one example. "The implication of this teaching is that God will give us whatever we want in this life."

He noted that another meditation on anger promoted "self-approval and self-focused therapy" as it encouraged users not to judge themselves.

"Judging ourselves, with a kind of biblical self-confrontation to expose and deal with our sinful motives and actions, is a wonderful thing and should be encouraged in our time of meditation," Winger contended. "This teaching encourages you to assume your anger is probably justified and never asks you to consider the alternative or to consider the incredibly important biblical teaching ‘in your anger, do not sin.’ It asks you to figure out which part of your soul you are defending with your anger and then to ‘ask Jesus to come and stand with you in that place.’

"This is just weird. I know a lot of people will find it therapeutic but it’s unbiblical."

While Soultime has some good points, Winger maintained that in the end, the app doesn't help you think more about the Bible.

"Its main focus seems to be to make you feel good and it uses Scripture as a tool to that end rather than helping people to think biblically," he argued. "[Y]ou will likely have a very man-centered, selfish and distorted view of certain things as a result of many hours with this app."

He also isn't fond of the "therapeutic music, sound effects and long pauses." 

In response, Wagner said they are constantly looking to improve the app and that they are "committed to being biblically and theologically accurate."

But it's not all about just knowing correct theology, he suggested.

"My personal issue was that I found that even though I knew a lot of good theology (I first won a theology prize more than 40 years ago) I still struggled to do what I knew! I've discovered that there are a lot of Christian's in the same boat. But my need was not better theology but more inner honesty," Wagner said.

He explained that Christian meditation helped him learn to be "really honest" with himself.

"So my need in a meditation guide was not so much theological accuracy (important though that was) but someone who when I listened to them I knew that they had stood in my shoes. It's not just a theory for them," he noted. "They've been to the difficult places I've been struggling with. If I'm going to let them in, I have to feel that, as the writer to the Hebrews puts it, they are not ‘unable to empathize with my weaknesses.’ My need is not just good theology but to "receive mercy and find grace to help me in my time of need.

"For instance,  when you listen to our latest series ‘Hope in Despair,’ what communicates hope is not just the theology but that Naomi has been there and come back — with hope in her hands."

As for the Abide team, Ahlsten said what they found was that Christians had a "hard time praying Scripture and applying it in their life."

So they created the Abide app to help Christians do those things better through "audio guides with Scripture references, prayers and exercises." The app ultimately is designed to help people "engage with Jesus and receive peace."

Some of the Abide guides include "Freedom from Depression," "Becoming More Like Jesus" and "Overcoming Worry." Their "Bedtime stories" are among the app's most popular meditations; they feature stories from the Bible, including Jacob and Esau, Ruth and Paul and are designed to help users struggling with insomnia.

Like the Soultime app, Abide's meditations encourage users to get comfortable, take deep breaths and shift their minds away from the day's tasks and worries. Some sessions feature calming nature sounds like flowing water. 

Along with health benefits, such as reduced stress and better sleep, from Christian meditation, Abide's creators maintain that meditating can lead to spiritual and relational change, including a "transforming connection with Jesus."

"Abide users regularly report how the app helps to focus on the Word of God and maintain consistent quiet time with the Lord," said Jones.

The Rev. Renn Law, pastor of Most High King Ministries in Florida, sees how Christian meditation apps can be helpful.

They can keep people aware "that life is more than what we naturally experience and provides guidance to pursue an intimate relationship with God, our Creator."

But Law is also wary that such apps could be "unscripturally based" or "so technologically oriented that a true organic spiritual experience is not truly attained."

"Whatever the actual value may be, it is still better for individuals to meditate on good things and aim to obtain peace of mind than dwell in confusion and instability within a world overloaded with distractions and stressors," said Law.

https://www.christianpost.com/news/christian-meditation-what-practices-are-new-age-and-what-is-biblical.html?page=4

Saturday, 16 March 2019 05:34

By Jim Denison, Christian Post Columnist

Much confusion abounds in our society regarding the theological and spiritual dimensions of suicide.

  • Is this the “unpardonable sin”?
  • Can those who take their lives still be in heaven?
  • Why does God permit such a tragedy?
  • How can faith sustain us in this hardest of all times?

More people die from suicide than from homicide in America. Suicide is the third leading cause of death for those aged fifteen to twenty-four and is most common among those aged sixty-five and older. Suicide rates among the elderly are highest for those who are divorced or widowed. In the last half-century, the suicide rate among adolescents and young adults hasnearly tripled.

These are some of the facts regarding the tragedy of suicide. However, you are likely reading this essay because this subject is more personal than objective for you. I hope the following conversation can help.

But if suicide is a very real issue for you, I urge you to seek professional help immediately.

I am writing as a pastor and theologian, not a counselor, psychologist, or psychiatrist. I will offer a brief overview of our subject from a biblical and theological perspective with some practical suggestions at the conclusion of our conversation.

The history of suicide

The term suicide is traced in the Oxford English Dictionary to 1651; its first occurrence is apparently in Sir Thomas Browne’s Religion Medici, written in 1635 and published in 1642. Before it became a common term, expressions such as “self-murder” and “self-killing” were used to describe the act of taking one’s own life.

In Greek and Roman antiquity, suicide was accepted and even seen by some as an honorable means of death and the attainment of immediate salvation. Stoics and others influenced by them saw suicide as the triumph of an individual over fate. Socrates’ decision to take his own life rather than violate the state’s sentence of execution influenced many to see the act as noble. However, he also made clear that we belong to the gods and cannot end our lives unless they wish it so (Plato, Phaedo 62bc).

Many of the early Christians knew they would likely die for their faith but chose to follow Christ at any cost. These deaths are not usually considered “suicide” since they were not initiated by the person but accepted as a consequence of his or her commitment to Jesus.

Augustine (A.D. 354–430) was the strongest opponent of any form of self-murder (cf. City of God 1:4-26). He appealed to the sixth commandment and its prohibition against murder. And he agreed with Socrates that our lives belong to God so that we have no right to end them ourselves. Over time, many in the church would see self-murder as an unpardonable sin (see the discussion of the Catholic Church’s position below).

In the nineteenth century, social scientists began to view suicide as a social issue and as a symptom of a larger dysfunction in the community and/or home. Medical doctors began to identify depression and other disorders behind the act. Suicide became decriminalized so that the individual could be buried, his family not disinherited, and a survivor not prosecuted.

Many are confused about this difficult subject, as our society and its churches have adopted such a wide variety of positions on it. So let’s discuss biblical teachings on the issue, the Catholic position, a Protestant response, and practical help for those dealing with this tragic issue.

The Bible and suicide

God’s word does not use the word suicide, but it has much to say on our subject.

Biblical occurrences

The Old Testament records five clear suicides:

  • When Abimelech was mortally wounded by a woman who dropped a millstone on his head, he cried to his armor-bearer to kill him so his death would not be credited to the woman (Judges 9:54).
  • The mortally wounded King Saul fell upon his own sword lest the Philistines abuse him further (1 Samuel 31:4).
  • Saul’s armor-bearer then took his own life as well (1 Samuel 31:5).
  • Ahithophel hanged himself after his advice was no longer followed by King David’s son Absalom (2 Samuel 17:23).
  • Zimri set himself afire after his rebellion failed (1 Kings 16:18).

Additionally, some consider Jonah to have attempted suicide (Jonah 1:11-15). And Samson destroyed the Philistine temple, killing himself and all those with him (Judges 16:29-30). But many do not see this as a suicide as much as an act of military bravery.

The death of Judas is the only clear example of suicide in the New Testament (Matthew 27:3-10). Paul later prevented the suicide of the Philippian jailer and won him to Christ (Acts 16:27-28).

Some consider Jesus’ death to have been a kind of suicide since he made clear: “No one takes [my life] from me, but I lay it down of my own accord” (John 10:18; all references are from the New International Version). However, as the divine Son of God, he could only have been killed, by any means, with his permission.

Biblical principles

God’s word makes clear the sanctity of life:

  • “You shall not murder” (Exodus 20:13).
  • “This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live” (Deuteronomy 30:19).
  • “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised” (Job 1:21).
  • “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).
  • “No one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church” (Ephesians 5:29).

There are times when believers may have to give their lives in the service of Christ and his kingdom (cf. Mark 8:34-36John 13:37Philippians 1:21-22). But voluntary martyrdom is not usually considered “suicide.”

Our postmodern culture believes that absolute truth does not exist (itself an absolute truth claim). In a nontheistic or relativistic society, it is difficult to argue for life and against suicide. If we are our own “higher power,” we can do with our lives what we want.

But if God is the Lord of all that is, he retains ownership over our lives and their days. He is the only one who can determine when our service is done, our intended purpose fulfilled. It is the clear and consistent teaching of Scripture that our lives belong to their Maker and that we are not to end them for our own purposes.

Suicide and the Catholic Church

Does this fact mean that suicide costs Christians their salvation?

Most of the theological questions I have been asked in this regard relate in some way to the Catholic Church’s teachings on the subject. The Catholic Catechism contains several statements regarding suicide and mortal sin (all italics are in the original).

Suicide

On suicide, the Church does not maintain that taking one’s own life always leads to eternity in hell, as these statements make clear:

  • #2280 Everyone is responsible for his life before God who has given it to him. It is God who remains the sovereign Master of life. We are obliged to accept life gratefully and preserve it for his honor and the salvation of our souls. We are stewards, not owners, of the life God has entrusted to us. It is not ours to dispose of.
  • #2281 Suicide contradicts the natural inclination of the human being to preserve and perpetuate his life. It is gravely contrary to the just love of self. It likewise offends love of neighbor because it unjustly breaks the ties of solidarity with family, nation, and other human societies to which we continue to have obligations. Suicide is contrary to love for the living God.
  • #2282 If suicide is committed with the intention of setting an example, especially to the young, it also takes on the gravity of scandal. Voluntary co-operation in suicide is contrary to the moral law.
  • Grave psychological disturbances, anguish, or grave fear of hardship, suffering, or torture can diminish the responsibility of the one committing suicide.
  • #2283 We should not despair of the eternal salvation of persons who have taken their own lives. By ways known to him alone, God can provide the opportunity for salutary repentance. The Church prays for persons who have taken their own lives.

Mortal sin

The Church maintains a distinction between “mortal” and “venial” sins. The former separate us from God’s grace; the latter, while serious, do not. The Catechism states:

  • #1037 God predestines no one to go to hell; for this, a willful turning away from God (a mortal sin) is necessary, and persistence in it until the end. In the Eucharistic liturgy and in the daily prayers of her faithful, the Church implores the mercy of God, who does not want “any to perish, but all to come to repentance.”
  • #1859 Mortal sin requires full knowledge and complete consent. It presupposes knowledge of the sinful character of the act, of its opposition to God’s law. It also implies a consent sufficiently deliberate to be a personal choice. Feigned ignorance and hardness of heart do not diminish, but rather increase, the voluntary character of a sin.
  • #1860 Unintentional ignorance can diminish or even remove the imputability of a grave offense. But no one is deemed to be ignorant of the principles of the moral law, which are written in the conscience of every man. The promptings of feelings and passions can also diminish the voluntary and free character of the offense, as can external pressures or pathological disorders. Sin committed through malice, by deliberate choice of evil, is the gravest.
  • #1861 Mortal sin is a radical possibility of human freedom, as is love itself. It results in the loss of charity and the privation of sanctifying grace, that is, of the state of grace. If it is not redeemed by repentance and God’s forgiveness, it causes exclusion from Christ’s kingdom and the eternal death of hell, for our freedom has the power to make choices for ever, with no turning back. However, although we can judge that an act is in itself a grave offense, we must entrust judgment of persons to the justice and mercy of God.
  • #2268 The fifth commandment forbids direct and intentional killing as gravely sinful. The murderer and those who cooperate voluntarily in murder commit a sin that cries out to heaven for vengeance.
  • #1470 It is only by the road of conversion that we can enter the Kingdom, from which one is excluded by grave sin. In converting to Christ through penance and faith, the sinner passes from death to life and “does not come into judgment.”

Theological results

From the above statements, the following principles of Catholic theology seem clear:

We cannot be sure of the spiritual state of the person who commits suicide. This person may be suffering from “grave psychological disturbances” which “can diminish the responsibility of the one committing suicide” (#2282). Mortal sin requires “full knowledge and complete consent” (#1859) and can be diminished by unintentional ignorance (#1860).

Thus the Church “should not despair of the eternal salvation of persons who have taken their own lives” (#2283).

However, if the person was fully aware of his or her actions, without suffering “grave psychological disturbances,” this person committed murder, an act which is “gravely sinful” (#2268).

A person who commits a mortal sin and demonstrates “persistence in it until the end” goes to hell (#1037).

Since a person who commits self-murder (suicide) cannot then repent of this sin, it is logical to conclude that this person cannot be saved from hell. However, the Catechism nowhere makes this conclusion explicit.

Suicide and the security of our salvation

Most Protestants do not believe that it is possible for a Christian to lose his or her salvation, even if that person commits suicide. Here is a summary of the typical Protestant position on the subject of “eternal security.”

Know what you can know

The Bible assures us, “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life” (1 John 5:13). A literal translation would be, “We can actually and with full assurance know intellectually and personally that we have eternal life.” This phrase does not mean that we gradually grow into assurance, but that we can possess here and now a present certainty of the life we have already received in Jesus.

But first we must “believe in the name of the Son of God.”

Believe means more than intellectual assent–it is the biblical word for personal trust and commitment. I can assent to the fact that an airplane will fly me from Dallas to Atlanta, but I must get on board before it can. No surgeon can operate on the basis of intellectual assent–we must submit to the procedure.

If you have, you can claim the biblical fact that you “have eternal life,” present tense, right now. You are already immortal. Jesus promised, “Whoever lives and believes in me will never die” (John 11:26). We simply step from time into eternity, from this life to the next.

Nowhere does the Bible say how it feels to become the child of God because our feelings can depend on the pizza we had for supper or the weather outside the window. No circumstances or events can guarantee our salvation. It takes as much faith to believe I am a Christian today as it did to become one more than thirty years ago. I still haven’t seen God, or proven my salvation in a test tube. If I had, I could question the reality and veracity of what I saw or thought. So could you.

Either the Bible is true or it is false. Either God keeps his word or he does not. He promises that if you “believe in the name of the Son of God,” you “have eternal life” this moment. You cannot lose your salvation, for you are already the immortal child of God. This is the fact of God’s word.

What about “falling from grace”?

Those who believe that it is possible to trust in Christ and then lose our salvation are quick to quote Hebrews 6:4-6. These interpreters assume that the text speaks of people who have experienced a genuine conversion then “fall away” (v. 6). They typically believe that such a person needs another salvation experience. But others disagree.

Some believe that the writer is stating a hypothetical case: If genuine Christians “fall away,” then “it is impossible” for them “to be brought back to repentance” (vs. 4, 6). Not that they ca, in fact, fall from salvation, but, if they could, they could not be saved again. Note that if the text deals with a Christian who actually falls from faith, it teaches that the person has no chance to be saved again.

Others (myself among them) believe that the writer is speaking not of a Christian but of someone who considers the faith, perhaps even joining a church, but then rejects Christ. If such a person persists in unbelief, he cannot then be saved. If a person claims that he once trusted Christ but does so no more, I would believe that he was never a genuine Christian.

The Bible seems clearly to teach that a Christian is forever the child of God:

  • “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
  • “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
  • “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand” (John 10:27-29).
  • “Whoever lives and believes in me will never die” (John 11:26).

What about the “unpardonable sin”?

Jesus has just healed a demon-possessed man. The crowds think he might be the Messiah, but the Pharisees say that he drives out demons by the devil himself. So Jesus responds, “The blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven” (Matthew 12:31). He repeats his warning: “Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come” (v. 32).

Peter could deny Jesus, Thomas could doubt him, and Paul could persecute his followers, yet they could be forgiven. But “blasphemy against the Spirit” cannot be forgiven, now or at any point in the future. This is the “unpardonable sin.”

So, what is this sin? Let’s set out what we know.

We know that Christians cannot commit this sin. 1 John 1:9 is clear: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” Allmeans all. No sin is unpardonable for a Christian.

We know that this sin relates to the work of the Holy Spirit in regard to unbelievers. Jesus is warning the Pharisees, those who rejected him, that they are in danger of this sin. So what does the Spirit do with non-Christians?

He convicts them of their sin and need for salvation: “When [the Spirit] comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin, and righteousness and judgment: in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me” (John 16:8-9).

He tells them about Christ their Savior: “When the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me” (John 15:26).

He explains salvation: “The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Corinthians 2:14).

When they confess their sins and turn to Christ, the Spirit makes them God’s children: “If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. . . . And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you” (Romans 8:911).

In short, the Holy Spirit leads lost people to salvation.

So we know that it is the “unpardonable sin” to refuse the Spirit’s work in leading you to salvation. To be convicted of your sin and need for a savior but refuse to admit it. To be presented the gospel but reject it.

Why is this sin unpardonable? Because accepting salvation through Christ is the only means by which our sins can be pardoned.

It is “unpardonable” to reject the only surgery that can save your life or the only chemotherapy that can cure your cancer. Not because the doctor doesn’t want to heal you, but because he cannot. You won’t let him. You have rejected the only means of health and salvation.

The unpardonable sin is rejecting the Holy Spirit’s offer of salvation and dying in such a state of rejection. Then you have refused the only pardon God is able to give you.

Don’t do that.

Be sure you have made Christ your Lord, today.

Suicide and salvation

To conclude this part of our conversation: no verse of Scripture connects suicide with our eternal destiny. If this act could cause us to lose our salvation, I believe the Bible would make that fact clear.

To the contrary, we can neither earn nor lose our salvation by human actions: “It is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).

Suicide is a tragedy for all involved, including our Father in heaven. But the Bible nowhere teaches that it costs Christians their salvation.

Suicide and the grace of God

Both those who consider suicide and those who lose someone to it often struggle with the presence of God in the midst of such pain. Why does he allow such suffering?

“How can a good God allow bad things to happen” is a problem as old as the Garden of Eden and the flood of Noah, Christian theologians have wrestled with it all through the history of our faith. Five basic approaches have been proposed most often.

1. The free-will theodicy

Augustine (AD 354-430) is usually considered the greatest Christian theologian after Paul. His approach to the problem of evil and suffering can be summarized as follows:

  • God created all that is.
  • All that he created is good.
  • Before the fall, evil was therefore “non-being,” potential to be chosen but not yet reality.
  • God created humanity with freedom of will.
  • We used this freedom to choose evil.
  • Our choice brought evil into existence, absolving God of blame.

There is much in Scripture to commend Augustine’s approach. God gave us freedom of will (Genesis 3:15-17Exodus 32:26Deuteronomy 30:19Joshua 24:151 Kings 18:21). We were given this freedom so we could choose God and good (Matthew 4:10Proverbs 1:104:14Romans 6:13Ephesians 6:132 Peter 3:17). Our free choice for wrong led to evil (James 1:13-154:1). All people are now sinners (Romans 3:23). Our sin has resulted in a fallen world (Genesis 3:17Romans 8:22).

Whenever evil is the product of our sinful choices, Augustine’s approach explains its existence without blaming God. Applied to the question of suicide, this position would remind us that the Sovereign of the universe has chosen to limit himself to our God-given freedom. If we misuse our freedom, the fault is not with God but ourselves.

However, this approach does not account adequately for innocent suffering.

Augustine would argue (correctly) that a tsunami is the product of a world which “fell” because of sin. But he could not explain why it would devastate Southeast Asia rather than some other part of the planet, or why so many innocent children would be affected.

A philosopher will also ask, “If man was created good by nature, why did he choose to sin? If God gave us freedom of will and knew how we would choose to use it, is he not responsible for its use (at least to some degree)?”

Related to suicide caused by clinical depression, this approach cannot explain why such a disease has to exist, or why it had to affect the person in question. The free-will approach helps us understand why a person who chooses to abuse alcohol might die in a drunk driving accident. But it doesn’t explain why the innocent driver of the other car had to die as well.

2. The spiritual warfare model

Satan is very real. He murders and lies (John 8:44). He accuses the people of God (Job 1:9-11), resists the godly (Zechariah 3:1Matthew 13:38-39), and tempts us to sin (1 Chronicles 21:1Matthew 4:1). He has power over unbelievers (Acts 26:182 Corinthians 4:3-4). He is a “roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8).

As a result, much of the evil and suffering in the world is attributable to his malignant work. Paul was clear: “Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12).

However, not all suffering is the direct result of Satan’s work.

We live in a fallen world in which natural disasters and disease are inevitable. People misuse their free will, as we have seen. God permits some suffering for our greater good (see the third approach). Satan would like us to attribute all evil to him, giving him too much power; or blame nothing on him, pretending he doesn’t exist.

The right approach is to ask the Lord if there is a Satanic component to our suffering and trust that he will guide us to the truth. If we are under attack, we can claim the power of God over our enemy and find victory in his Spirit and strength.

In relating this approach to the question of suicide, we can know that Satan is a “murderer from the beginning” (John 8:44). He wants to destroy us. He will use our freedom to tempt us, but he cannot make us commit suicide. The choice is still ours

3. The soul-building model

Irenaeus (ca. AD 120-ca. 200) proposed an alternative approach to our problem:

  • God created us to develop into perfect relationship with himself.
  • He created the world as a place for that development.
  • Evil is thus necessary as a means of our spiritual development (“soul-building”).

The Bible does teach that some suffering comes from God (Deuteronomy 8:5Job 16:12Psalm 66:1190:7). We know that suffering can lead to good (Job 23:10Psalm 119:672 Corinthians 4:17Hebrews 12:11Revelation 7:14). Suffering can lead us to repentance (Jeremiah 7:357), and can refine us (Psalm 66:10Isaiah 48:10Malachi 3:31 Peter 1:74:17). Pain enables us to witness to our faith in God despite the hurt (2 Peter 2:12153:15-16). And so God promises to use even difficult experiences for our good, to make us more like Jesus (Romans 8:28-29).

Irenaeus explains how evil could exist before Adam and Eve chose it. His approach also affirms the hope that God can redeem any suffering for his glory and our good. Problems with this approach include the fact that the “fall” it pictures is not as catastrophic as the event described in Genesis 3.

The amount of evil in the world seems disproportionate to the present good; for instance, it is hard to argue that the lessening of anti-Semitism which resulted from the Holocaust justifies the horrors of that tragedy. This approach also struggles with the existence of hell since it is not a soul-building or redemptive reality.

As related to suicide, this approach may help us understand that God can redeem depression for his glory and our good. He can even use the horrific tragedy of a suicide to help people follow him in faith. He did not cause this pain, but he can redeem it.

4. The eschatological model

Eschatology deals with the future. Applied to theodicy, this approach asserts that evil will be resolved in the future, making present suffering endurable and worthwhile.

Jesus promised that life leads to life eternal in glory (John 14:1-6), a paradise beyond our imagination (Revelation 21:1-5). We need not consider the present sufferings worth comparing with the glory to be revealed (Romans 8:18).

As a philosophical model, this approach offers the guarantee of absolute rational understanding. We do not comprehend the purpose of suffering now, but we will one day (1 Corinthians 13:12). All our questions will be answered. All the reasons why God has permitted suffering in our lives will be clarified. Our present faithfulness will be redeemed with future reward in glory (Revelation 2:10).

This approach does not offer explanation in the present. And some might wonder how this promise of future hope makes present courage possible. But it does promise that the questions we cannot answer today will have their answers one day.

5. The existential model

The last model is more practical than theoretical: God suffers as we suffer, and gives us strength to withstand and even redeem our pain.

The Bible affirms this assertion (2 Corinthians 4:116Ephesians 3:13Hebrews 12:5Revelation 2:3). God walks with us through the valley of the shadow of death (Psalm 23:4). He weeps as we weep (John 11:35). Jesus experienced every temptation and pain we feel (Hebrews 4:15). He is present with us now in the sufferings of life (Deuteronomy 20:1Psalm 34:18Isaiah 43:2Daniel 3:24-2512:6-7Acts 16:25-26).

Philosophically, this approach is not a true theodicy. It offers no real explanation for the origin or existence of suffering. But it does provide the practical assurance that our Father walks with his children through the hardest places of life, and will never allow us to face more than he will give us the strength to bear (1 Corinthians 10:13).

Your Father suffers as you suffer. If you feel pain, so does he. He knows what it is to lose a child, for he lost his Son on the cross. He will walk with us through the valley of the shadow of death (Psalm 23:4) until he leads us all the way home.

Practical principles

When the tragedy of suicide strikes, how can this theological discussion help us in practical ways? Here are steps to take in the worst storms of life.

First, utilize the free-will approach to examine the origin of this suffering.

Is there sin to admit? Is this pain in some way the result of misused freedom? If you are not sure, you may ask the Father.

Where sin is part of the problem, we can claim God’s forgiving grace (1 John 1:9) and make restitution to others when doing so is to their good (Luke 19:8). But do not assume that suffering is always the fault of sin. Joseph, Job, and Jesus are clear evidence to the contrary.

Second, use the soul-building model to ask: What can you learn from this situation?

How can you grow closer to God through this pain? Strive to be open to every source from which this spiritual growth can come–ask friends for counsel, seek the Spirit in prayer and Scripture, worship God even (especially) when it’s hard. Stay close enough to Jesus to hear his voice and feel his transforming touch.

Third, use the future hope approach to ask: How can God redeem this present suffering for future good?

How can he use your witness to touch the lives of people you may not even know? How will he reward your present faithfulness in the future and in glory? You may not be able to see the future, but you can believe that it is real.

Last, utilize the existential model to trust God’s help in the midst of your pain.

Know that he loves you, no matter how the world assesses or treats you. He will always be your Father, if you have asked Jesus Christ to be your Lord. Nothing can take you from his hand (John 10:28). He will enable you to get through this dark night, until the dawn finally comes.

Above all, make certain that you have entered a personal relationship with your Creator and Father. Be sure that you have asked him to forgive your sins and failures, and to become your Lord and Savior.

This simple prayer captures the essence of a salvation commitment:

“Dear Lord, thank you for loving me. Thank you for sending your Son to die on the cross to pay the penalty for my sins. I turn from them now, and ask you to forgive me for them. I invite Jesus Christ into my life as my Savior and Lord. I turn my life over to him. I will live for him as long as I live. Thank you for making me your child forever. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

If you prayed this prayer for the first time just now, please tell a Christian you can trust.

As God’s child, you need to be part of his family. His church can help you grow in your faith and stand with you in the hard times of life. Whomever you trust with your decision to follow Jesus, know that you are now the child of God for all eternity.

For those considering suicide

People consider suicide when the pain they feel exceeds their ability to cope with it. They want to end their suffering, and think that ending their lives will bring relief.

A trained professional is the very best person to speak with someone who is considering suicide.

If you know someone who is feeling that they cannot go on, or if you’re feeling that way yourself, the best thing you can do is speak with a counselor. That person can help find ways to decrease the pain or discover ways of coping with it.

In the meanwhile, it is important to know that it is possible to get through this. Feeling suicidal does not require that we act on our feeling. The best thing to do immediately is to create some space. If we decide not to act on our feelings for even a few minutes or a day, we can find the strength to seek help. By seeking help we can deal with the pain and find the hope we need.

Warning signs

More than 90 percent of those who commit suicide suffered from a significant psychiatric illness at the time of their death.

Chronic major depression is by far the leading cause of suicide. This brain illness causes the person not to think as healthy people think, and often leads him or her to believe that suicide is the only way to stop the pain. Alcohol or drug use compound this problem and increase the risk of suicide greatly.

Common indicators that a person needs immediate help:

  • Those who threaten to hurt or kill themselves, or talk of wanting to hurt or kill themselves.
  • Those looking for ways to kill themselves by seeking access to firearms, available pills, or other means.
  • Those talking or writing about death, dying or suicide, when these actions are out of the ordinary for them.

Research has identified these specific risk factors for suicide:

  • Previous suicide attempt(s)
  • History of mental disorders, particularly depression
  • History of alcohol and substance abuse
  • Family history of suicide (depression is often genetic)
  • Family history of child maltreatment
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Impulsive or aggressive tendencies
  • Barriers to accessing mental health treatment
  • Loss (relational, social, work, financial, etc.)
  • Physical illness
  • Easy access to lethal methods
  • Unwillingness to seek help due to stigma attached to mental health, substance abuse disorders, or suicidal thoughts
  • Cultural and religious beliefs, such as the belief that suicide is a noble way to die
  • Local epidemics of suicide
  • Isolation, a sense of being cut off from others.

If you or someone you know matches these characteristics, it is vital to seek qualified help today.

Protective factors

The following indicators help buffer people from the risks associated with suicide:

  • Effective clinical care for mental, physical, and substance abuse disorders
  • Easy access to clinical interventions and support for those seeking help
  • Family and community support
  • Support from ongoing medical and mental health care relationships
  • Skills in problem-solving, conflict resolution, and nonviolent ways of handling disputes
  • Cultural and religious beliefs that discourage suicide and encourage self-preservation instincts.

Help those you care about to experience these positive influences, and you’ll do much to prevent the tragedy of suicide.

Conclusion

This essay has discussed some of the most difficult subjects in all of faith and life. We have considered the tragedy of suicide in historical, biblical, theological, and practical perspective.

Let’s conclude with a promise that applies to you and every person you know, and most especially to those affected by this tragic issue:

Fear not, for I have redeemed you;

I have summoned you by name; you are mine.

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;

and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.

When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned;

the flames will not set you ablaze.

For I am the Lord, your God,

the Holy One of Israel, your Savior (Isaiah 43:1-3).

No matter how deep the water or hot the fire, he is still our Father.

This is the promise of God.

Sources

Catechism of the Catholic Church, second edition English translation.

National Center for Injury Prevention and Control

J. T. Clemons, “Suicide,” International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, ed. Geoffrey W. Bromiley (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1988) 4:652-3.

A. J. Droge, “Suicide,” The Anchor Bible Dictionary, ed. David Noel Freedman (New York: Doubleday, 1992) 6:225-31.

Milton A. Gonsalves, Fagothey’s Right and Reason: Ethics in Theory and Practice, 9th ed. (Columbus: Merrill Publishing Company, 1989) 246-8.

Suicide Awareness Voices of Education

American Association of Suicidology

Originally posted at denisonforum.org

https://www.christianpost.com/voice/what-does-the-bible-say-about-suicide.html?fbclid=IwAR0Muk27iVYNZYZpQnxv9WlFKrjnTCpZC4RJCE5lQAn-GllhrHK02B6aDxo

Saturday, 16 March 2019 05:23

By Michael Gryboski, Christian Post Reporter

Muslims living in the United States are more likely to have a friend or family member who identifies as evangelical Christian than the other way around, according to a newly released survey.

The Foundation for Ethnic Understanding of New York released a study on Monday titled “Evangelical Christian and Muslim Relations in the U.S.,” which analyzed several points of comparison between the two faith communities.

According to the research, 38 percent of Muslim respondents reported having any family members or close friends who are evangelical and 53 percent reported interacting with evangelicals either “very frequently” or “somewhat frequently.”

By contrast, 18 percent of evangelical respondents reported having any family members or close friends who are Muslim and 22 percent reported interacting with Muslims either “very frequently” or “somewhat frequently.”

When asked to describe the relationship between evangelicals and Muslims in the United States, each faith group was more likely to rate it "fair" (37 percent of evangelicals, 31 percent of Muslims) than "poor" (24 percent of evangelicals, 26 percent of Muslims) or "good" (21 percent of evangelicals and Muslims). Only 5 percent of evangelicals and 9 percent of Muslims rated it “excellent.”

Data for the study was based off of an online survey conducted Jan. 3-15, with a sample space of 500 self-identified American evangelical Christians and 500 self-identified American Muslims, with a margin of error of plus or minus 4.38 percentage points.

The study showed some similarities between the two faith groups, as both evangelical and Muslim respondents ranked “Daily Prayer,” “Family,” and “Making the world a better place for everyone” in their top three most important aspects of their religious tradition.

Further, majorities of both evangelical (61 percent) and Muslim (59 percent) respondents reported praying more than once a day.

There were also telling disparities. For example, 56 percent of evangelical respondents voted for Donald Trump in 2016, while only 12 percent of Muslim respondents did the same.

Also, 61 percent of evangelicals either “strongly support” or “somewhat support” the Trump administration’s travel ban on Muslim-majority countries; by contrast, only 20 percent of Muslims reported the same.

“Evangelical Christian-Muslim relations is today’s largest interreligious challenge and the poll shows that there are causes for concern and elements of hope and optimism on both sides to narrow the divide between the two faith communities,” said FFEU President Rabbi Marc Schneier in a statement released Monday.

Earlier this year, evangelical and Muslim leaders gathered in Washington, D.C., for a symposium on “bridge building” between the two religious groups.

Organized by the Unity Productions Foundation, the Kingdom Mission Society, and the Vienna-based International Dialogue Centre, the event included a screening of a documentary about St. Francis of Assisi’s communication with Sultan Al-Kamil in the Middle Ages.

“I think when you see St. Francis and you see examples of missionaries in the Evangelical movement what you will often see is the spirit of Christ to reach everyone, because we believe everyone has human dignity,” stated Alexei Laushkin, executive director of the Kingdom Mission Society.

“Throughout the scriptures Old Testament and New Testament you see the prophets and you see Jesus encountering people as they are and we try and use that spirit as our means for dialogue and conversation.” 

https://www.christianpost.com/news/american-muslims-more-likely-to-have-evangelical-friends-family-than-vice-versa-poll-finds.html?fbclid=IwAR0T-Lad3FA_YFLMJWyKCM0KGc32EwvYh3yziIVdzRWF_vTuVY4gGYZlUow

 
 
Thursday, 14 March 2019 07:22

On February 18th, 2019, Hyperallergic, a digital outlet based in Brooklyn (New York), had published a long essay glorifying, revering the Armenian religious architecture and culture in the ancient land of Azerbaijan, Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic. The authors of this long and misleading publication, Sarah Pickman and Simon Maghakyan have unleashed a barrage of slander, as well as spitted numerous academically shaped insults against Government of Azerbaijan.

Pickman and Maghakyan lead the reader into an abyss of misinformation, attempt to destroy and tarnish the well known historical facts about Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic and its ancient history. With their misleading citations and science fiction photos throughout the article, the two authors aim to achieve international notoriety and prestige at the cost of Azerbaijan’s millenary culture; openly attacking and attempting to cover with an Armenian mantle the rich heritage of Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic is absolutely an act of bigotry, chauvinism and depicts once again the harmful agenda orchestrated by U. S. based Armenian interest groups whose only purpose is to destroy global interfaith dialogue, denigrate multiculturalism and promote hostility in the Caucasus region, instead of peace and prosperity.

Pickman’s appalling remarks illustrate an insidious political offensive and information warfare that is clearly orchestrated by Yerevan’s top officials, while Armenia commemorates three decades of being an aggressor state by occupying over twenty percent of the sovereign territory of Azerbaijan and daily violating the ceasefire across the borderline with Nakhchivan and along the seven surrounding districts of Nagorno-Karabakh. Armenia’s domestic state of affairs are in dire situation: economic stagnation, high level of unemployment and increased levels of grey economy as well as a malnourished Armed Forces. The media coverage of all these determinant nation building factors would bring more progress to every Armenian citizen and regional progress, rather than contaminate digital newspapers with manipulated facts and photos, as well as Armenian ugly propaganda machine artifacts, fake news and grossly unreliable information.   

It is evident that Armenia’s fascist regime at home and inflammatory Armenian Diasporas abroad have constantly issued offensive press releases and abhorrent remarks against the hardworking and suffering nation of Azerbaijan.  It is non-sense to addressing and responding to every manipulated source in the so called tedious and unscrupulous research presented in Pickman’s essay (as it certainly becomes a dreary read), it is unfair for the reader to address matters that have never happened throughout ancient and modern history of Julfa and Nakhchivan – Azerbaijan; the two authors even write incorrectly, misinforming the public opinion, all names of locations in the territory of Azerbaijan.

Simon Maghakyan and other sources have proved and confirmed that during the Soviet Union period, all grave stones were carried by Armenian nationals from Julfa region of Azerbaijan to Armenia.  The perfect examples are the Grave stones placed in the yard of Yerevan Brandy Factory and in Yerevan State History Museum.

(Source:http://armtoday.info/default.asp?Lang=_Ru&NewsID=60651&SectionID=3 &RegionID=0&Date=08/25/2012&PagePosition=2)

An original Julfa khachkar (above) is one of a dozen surviving grave stones that were removed from Nakhchivan during or before the Soviet Union era, displayed at The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Armenia! exhibit (September 22, 2018-January 13, 2019), on a loan deal from Armenia’s Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin.

As a Ph. D. degree candidate at Yale University, Pickman should make an fairly scientific effort to write an essay about the current situation of Azerbaijan’s religious, cultural, grave stones and ancient historical monuments in the sovereign territory of Azerbaijan that have been under the occupation of Armenian Armed Forces for over thirty years and are fully destroyed, including the districts of Agdam, Kalbajar, Lachin, Qubadli, Jabrayil, Zangilan, Fuzuli.  Perhaps a research article on Sarsang Reservoir that is under the Armenian Control and is an imminent threat to over 450 thousand Azerbaijani citizens living in the regions nearby Azerbaijan’s Nagorno-Karabakh, is truly among pressing matters that require a global attention, instead of pursuing American ambassador Morgenthau’s tarnished legacy during World War I. 

Peter Tase is an american expert on international relations

 

http://ednews.net/en/news/specialist-view/358500-armenias-fascist-propaganda-against-azerbaijan?fbclid=IwAR34Dy1_DSt-rBxp7YXTwurcwdrnzMgxYc_dudwJkjV2n6cMyxqpcEcd2dQ

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