The Lie Factory posted by Yuen Woh Voon on Jan 10, 2012
Our church has been studying the Book of 1 John at our Sunday services and yesterday, the Scripture text was the latter part of the 2nd Chapter where the faithful were warned of the appearance of antichrists who were formerly from their community of faith (2:19).
These antichrists (“usurpers of the anointed”) deny the deity of Christ and are masters of deception, using lies to achieve their end.
In my country, there has an avalanche of lies about Christians: that Christians have hatched a plot to place a Christian Prime Minister at the helm of government, that Christians have been targeting Muslims for proselytization, that Christians have distributed “talking” Bibles to Muslims, that Christians are helping the poor and handicapped in order to proselytize, that Christians are funded by overseas organizations that are plotting to destabilize our government, that Christians insist on calling their God Allah for purposes of proselytization, that Christians want Bibles in the Malay language again for purposes of proselytization, etc.
Persecution begins with disinformation and that is followed by discrimination. The followers of Jesus Christ cannot be silent in the face of lies. They must reclaim the public square. When the public starts believing in the lies that Christians are a threat, then Christians will be discriminated against and finally, persecuted.
The World Evangelical Fellowship (WEF) has called on the world community of nations to apply the ‘Golden Rule’ when they deal with religious persecution. Government leaders from the majority race or religion should treat the minority only in ways that they wish to be treated when people of their race and religion are a minority in other countries.
The WEF sees the steps to persecution as follows:
Step 1: Passive disinformation
Passive disinformation occurs when a minority group is slandered, vilified or unfairly attacked through the private, or not state-operated, media.
Step 2: Active disinformation
Active disinformation occurs when the state uses its agencies, particularly the state-run media, to poison the well of public opinion against a minority faith.
Step 3: Passive discrimination
Disinformation prepares the ground of public opinion for the next stage: discrimination. Here again the state may be a passive or active party. The state passively discriminates against minority faiths when it turns a blind eye to discrimination taking place against unpopular religious groups by private actors.
Step 4: Active discrimination
The state is engaged in active discrimination when it adopts policies and practices, through legislation or rules and regulations, that effectively deny members of minority religions opportunities to practice their faith with the same freedom as that enjoyed by the dominant or accepted faiths.
Step 5: Passive persecution
When the state has discriminated actively or passively against minority faith groups, the ground is fertile for persecution to take root and produce its evil fruit. Persecution carried out by private actors, such as religious extremists or fanatics acting singly or as a mob, can range from the destruction of property to torture and murder.
Step 6: Active persecution
The slide toward persecution hits bottom when the state and its agencies become active participants in destroying or confiscating property, arresting or incarcerating religious minorities, torturing or executing believers because of their faith tradition.
Let us continue to pray for religious freedom everywhere!
1 In the LORD I take refuge. How then can you say to me: “Flee like a bird to your mountain. 2 For look, the wicked bend their bows; they set their arrows against the strings to shoot from the shadows at the upright in heart. 3 When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?” (NIV)