Are Quakers Not Christian Anymore?

I see that the Wikipedia article on them says that they now include people who hold with "non-Christian universalist beliefs." I seem to be running into more and more of that strain of Quaker.

My Facebook friend, Yusef Daher, posted a status update on his Wall which generated the following back-and-forth in which I participated. I believe the content is revealing, hence I am sharing it with you here. In case anyone is wondering, the content is not copyright protected.

Yusef's status:

Yusef Daher

God has his own ways.... Just follow him in all your missions and days

Comments:

Marius Berntsen

But beware, if you think He tells you it's OK to rob and steal, kill and oppress in His name you're probably dealing with an imposter! ;-)

Yusef Daher

God is good and he doesn't tell us this.. If you saw it somewhere,,, just disregard.. Greetings to all

Marius Berntsen

My friend, we don't just disregard it, we work to stop the evil

Tom Usher

"...if you think He tells you it's OK to rob and steal, kill and oppress in His name you're probably dealing with an imposter!"

Not probably, definitely!

Marius Berntsen

Then our challenge is to stop our deluded brothers, for the sake of both their victims and themselves, stop them any peaceful way we can, and not just sit around waiting till we may eventually convince them.

Yusef Daher

We need first to educate some people at your home countries how to read the bible...Theologically as Tom is syaing
Next,Marous, it is obvious we are way behind convincing... the only way is preisuiring parties to have justice prevail..

Ulla-Stina Rask

I found this link very striking, when it comes to how to read the Bible: (Yusef do you know anything about that man, and his background?)
http://www.jeremyrhammond.com/2010/07/08/woe-to-you-christian-zionists-hypocrites/

Marius Berntsen

@Yousef: Yes, the struggle mainly goes down in the US and in Europe, where we need to address the Christian support for Zionism and ethnic cleansing.

Yusef Daher

Excellent reading Ulla..Thanks
I will use it
I don't know the man..

Tom Usher

The most important thing is to keep speaking and writing truth in the face of attempted censorship. Giving up is victory for evil. The fact that more and more people are speaking and writing against the false propaganda of the Zionists is what is breaking through to people's consciences and consciousnesses. It is New Testament. Of course, we must also act accordingly by following Jesus's clear prescriptions and proscriptions as recorded in the Gospels.

I am glad to see you, Marius, write, "any peaceful way we can," as violence is not the solution.

I see, and I suppose you do as well, many people, particularly Muslims, calling for violence, which will only get more Palestinians killed and will not prevail – especially not with today's weaponry in the hands of the US and Israel.

The best pressure is on the conscience, including calling upon people to develop working consciences. It can be done. Even sociopaths can develop working consciences. God can do anything.

Good thread!

Marius Berntsen

I think the 'Muslim side' actually have a right, under IL and HR, to liberate Palestine with military means, while the Judeo-Christian effort to support the illegal ethnic cleansing and occupation is glaringly illegal under the same statutes.
Thankfully, as a 'near-pacifist', what I see is that the Muslim leaderships of Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran are very precise in discerning between their legal, undisputed armed defencive capacity and their stated understanding that the liberation of Palestine will be a complex international political development that will not come about based on any Muslim military offensive.
These are the important facts. What we read from either the gung-ho fan-base of the colonization or the desperate (meaning without hope) Muslim or Christian victims and their sympathizers really shouldn't be exploited to characterize any group of followers of any faith.

Tom Usher

Well, Marius, let me address you from the Christian theological perspective. The International Law to which you refer is mundane law. It is not high enough to suit Christianity. I will make clear as to why in a moment. The term "Judeo-Christian" is actually either redundant or an error. If by Judeo, you mean Talmudist, then it's an error. The real Jews in terms of religion are the Christians. Jesus brought the New Testament for the Torah Jews. The Talmudists (Pharisees primarily) murdered him by proxy (the Romans). In any case, no real Christian is ethnically cleansing or occupying anything in the sense you've used those terms.

Also, the term "near-pacifist" doesn't jibe with Jesus's admonitions to human beings, as you will see also in a moment.

As for not using what people say and do to characterize them, that's impossible if you wish to be honest. Islam is a religion whose founder used "pre-emptive" violent attacks on others and did many things totally unacceptable under Jesus Christ's teachings. Mohammed killed many people from whom he took material possessions as booty or spoils that he divvied up amongst his followers. He took slaves and both kept them and sold others. His "troops" and he were allowed to have forced sexual intercourse on females whose men folk were just slaughtered before their eyes. I call it pillage and rape.

Now, you can attempt to ignore this or to sugarcoat it, but I choose to look straight on at it and summarily reject Islam for these and other reasons. I choose to discern that these teachings and acts by Mohammed have misled hundreds of millions, and now, some say a billion living.

The counter to these facts is often that Christianity has done this or that that is just as bad. Well, people have done this or that that is just as bad, but they weren't Christians but in name only at most.

So, here's the "proof text," as the Evangelicals like to call it:

"Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, 'The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares? He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.'" (Matthew 13:24-30)

No one, save God who knows each heart better than any individual heart knows itself, is capable finally of separating the tares from the wheat or the goats from the sheep, etc. Jesus did not kill anyone. He did not raise a violent army. If killing and using a violent army had been the right way, would he have done those things? He was tempted to do them but rejected them because they were wrong.

You can continue promoting your view or change. If you continue unchanged, you will be calling souls to a lower place. You'll be giving comfort to violent Muslims who will say amongst themselves that even Peace Church Quakers say Muslim violence is acceptable.

As Christians, our job is to call Muslims to Christianity, not reduce Christianity to some syncretistic anti-Christ, "New Age" religion. That syncretism is the Great Falling Away. It comes out from the deceiver.

I trust you will receive this in the spirit intended.

Peace,

Tom

Marius Berntsen

Tom, I'm not worthy of such a heavy salvo. My use of 'Judeo-Christian' was wrong and a pretentious substitute for 'Jewish and Christian'. But a more important point that we actually disagree on, is where you enter into a comparative discussion of the three religions, and where you state that you hold Christianity above international law (and human rights?). I will not go there. I believe that IL and HR are neccessary rules of engagement for everybody, regardless of faith or creed. In addition, they are good tools for some of the good things we hope to strive towards, like freedom, justice and democracy in all of Palestine. We probably cannot achieve that without inter-religious trust and co-operation, which we will not attain if we bring up the 'my-religion-is-better-than-yours' argument. For that reason I will gladly work with (and trust) people of any faith that share my ideals for a peaceful future in Palestine. My ideals may have a 'higher' origin (or not), but I need to present them in the framework of secular IL and HR.

Peace to you too, Tom

Marius

Ulla-Stina Rask

Tom, I trust your intentions are good.
Marius: I think you have really good points here. Let's stay together in all the good work. Love to you all.

Tom Usher

Marius,

The term "heavy salvo" says to me that you did not receive my words in the spirit intended. More importantly though is whether or not you see and hear and understand the parable. Do you and just disagree with Jesus?

Yes, of course, I hold Christianity above mundane international law. In mundane international law, war is legal. In Christianity, that kind of war is not. One must choose. There are endless other examples I could cite here. You "will not go there"?

As for human rights, what higher law is there than Jesus's teachings concerning how humans should behave toward one another (rules of engagement)? You appear to be a believer in the just-war theory. That theory is anti-Christ. You do know that, don't you?

You've used the terms "freedom" and "justice," but I don't want Palestine to be free on the order of Americans but rather free on the order of Jesus. The same applies to justice.

I have no problem in saying that I am a Christian by choice and an American by birth. There's a difference.

I also don't have a problem with telling Hamas that Christianity is better than Islam while also working to stop the Zionists. I have no problem telling the Zionists that Christianity is better than Zionism. If I didn't think/know that Christianity is better, I'd be something else. I converted to it because it is the best. That's what I want: the best. I want it for others too, but I don't coerce anyone.

I too often refer to international law and human rights, but I definitely never leave my Christianity at the door. Doing that would be a huge disservice to Jesus and God and others and myself.

So, are you a Christian? Are Quakers not Christians anymore? You profess being a Quaker, correct? I keep running into Quakers who refuse to go along with the clear teachings of Jesus. It strikes me as some sort of politically correct change. I won't go there.

I hope you revisit all of this and reflect before concluding that you can't simultaneously advocate for peace, freedom, justice, and all the rest of the good and Christianity at the same time. In my book all of those things must go together. I define those terms by Christ's standards. Anything else is aiming too low to get humanity out of the Hell of its own choosing and to bring in the New Earth and New Heaven, the Great Conflation.

Still peace to you,

Tom

Marius Berntsen

For the record, before we end this, I despise the American 'Just war'-rhetoric, and I would never support starting a war. I may criticize the tactics, strategies or wisdom of armed resistance, but I will not deny victims the HR to defend themselves. And in matters of life and death, like in Palestine, I will offer my help alongside any other human, no questions asked about religion or faith.
I am convinced the struggle against Zionism needs to be both non-violent and confrontational, what you may call Ghandi-style. In my role as a peace activist, I will not discuss my own religious beliefs outside a small circle of trusted friends.
Please let this be the end of this discussion.
In peace,
Marius

Yusef Daher

Thank you friends for a healthy discussion .. I am really honored. and agree with Marius at this stage we need to go on and play our roles .. on other fronts for the good of Justice and Peace.

Tom Usher

I too believe there are points when discussions are best left off. So, this will be my concluding statement as well.

Firstly, I am glad to hear you, Marius, say that you would never start a war. Nothing you had written previously suggested to me that you were the type of person who would. I gathered your position from your use of the self-expressing term, "near-pacifist." Perhaps I read more into that than others would, but I did take it in the most positive light I could think of – hence you aren't for pre-emptive or preventative wars. I would like though to clarify that the "Just War" theory predates the neocon pre-emptive/preventative policy.

Secondly, let me also clarify that, as a Christian, I advocate for non-violence. Did Jesus deny people the human right to hit back? It would depend upon how you view the terms as to how you would answer. He convinced many not too. His disciples and he didn't hit back, with the exception of Peter cutting off an ear for which he was strongly rebuked by Jesus. People may agree or disagree with Jesus's position. I agree with him.

Thirdly, when it comes time to helping a body, all other things being equal, I too don't ask about the person's religion or ideology or consider anything other than that he or she is a fellow human. I will of course not help the killer hunt his human prey. I suspect you wouldn't either, Marius.

Fourthly, of course I have no choice but to accept your desire to keep your religious belief private. I think of the Sermon on the Mount in which Jesus says, "Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." (Matthew 5:15-16)

Fifthly, I approached this thread theologically based upon Yusef's having mentioned, "We need first to educate some people at your home countries how to read the bible...Theologically as Tom is saying."

In conclusion, it was not my desire to be an offense. I simply spoke as a Christian.

Thank you, Yusef, for hosting this forum on your Facebook Wall.

May God bless everyone here and in Palestine and whether Arab or Jew or anything else and regardless of religion. True blessings from God won't make things worse for anyone.

Peace and love,

Tom Usher

Now, I'm not trying to pick on Marius here; but it is important to see where the following doesn't jibe with being offended by my raising issues concerning Islam.

Marius Berntsen

But beware, if you think He tells you it's OK to rob and steal, kill and oppress in His name you're probably dealing with an imposter! ;-)

Yusef Daher

God is good and he doesn't tell us this.. If you saw it somewhere,,, just disregard.. Greetings to all

Marius Berntsen

My friend, we don't just disregard it, we work to stop the evil

You see there that Marius is actually calling Allah, at least the Allah/God in Mohammed's mind, an imposter because Mohammed taught his followers to "rob and steal, kill and oppress in" Allah's/God's name. The "oppress" part, many Muslims might reject; but there is no doubt that Mohammed and his followers robbed and stole and killed while doing so. It's recounted right in the Qur'an. How can they deny it? Well, they don't. They say it was okay. However, Marius doesn't think so, while I come right out and say it but apparently am revealing too much in the likes of Marius's eyes. Since Marius is apparently far from alone with his fellow Quakers, I felt obliged to state this openly here on the Church blog for the edification of all who venture here.

I am for the Zionists not abusing Palestinians, but I am equally opposed to anyone abusing anyone in the name of God including those who call themselves Muslims. I am for a general worldwide awakening to the true teachings of Jesus Christ that are so terribly censored and distorted in Islam, which rationalizes the sins of Mohammed.

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  • Tom Usher

    About Tom Usher

    Employment: 2008 - present, website developer and writer. 2015 - present, insurance broker. Education: Arizona State University, Bachelor of Science in Political Science. City University of Seattle, graduate studies in Public Administration. Volunteerism: 2007 - present, president of the Real Liberal Christian Church and Christian Commons Project.
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