Typically You Cannot Rationalize With A Muslim

Typically You Cannot Rationalize With A Muslim

        I believe that there is no rational basis to believe in Islam or be a Muslim. I believe most often the believers of this religion base it on pure emotions with no real arguments. Here is an example of how it is to discuss religion with a Muslim:

What is really pathetic is the host lady is arguing from pure emotion then using ad hominem attacks and being unreasonable. She also does not understand the Quaran and looks like an ignoramus. Yet she called the woman guest ignorant. Yet this host wants Sharia Law all over the world. So why is she not wearing a hajeeb or veil? She has her hair done and is not covered up at all. She is a total hypocrite and looks absolutely stupid in how she talks.

But I find this behavior happens often when I talk about religion or ask about Islam with a Muslim. They have no real answers and refuse to discuss or explain anything and end up insulting me and refusing to listen. These are basically all moderate Muslims who have their heads in the sand about Islamofascist terrorism worldwide and the fact they do not seem to have the slightest clue in how to interpret the Quaran unless it is a liberal way that doe snot take “Allah’s word” literally.

Yoga Is Not For Christians

Yoga Is Not For Christians 

        Health and fitness in the last 15 or so years has become increasingly mixed with New Age spirituality. It is no longer just science about burning calories and fat, and becoming healthier in the body. It is now a “mind body” experience. A “holistic” experience. There is nothing wrong with a healthy mind and body. But it has gone beyond just mind and body and into spirit. So now it is “mind, body, spirit” that people think they are nurturing when doing fitness activities. This attitude is mostly promoted by practitioners of Yoga.

        The website hinduwisdom.info states,

Yoga sutra consists of two words only: yogash chitta-critti-nirodah, which may be translated: “Yoga is the cessation of agitation of the consciousness.”

The word yoga is derived from the root yuj, which means to unite or to join together. The practice of yoga may lead to the union of the human with the divine – all within the self. The aim of yoga is the transformation of human beings from their natural form to a perfected form. The Yogic practices originated in the primordial depths of India’s past. From this early period the inner attitudes and disciplines which were later identified and given orderly expression by Patanjali. 

According to Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra, the classical text on yoga, the purpose of yoga is to lead to a silence of the mind (1.2). This silence is the prerequisite for the mind to be able to accurately reflect objective reality without its own subjective distortions. Yoga does not create this reality, which is above the mind, but only prepares the mind to apprehend it, by assisting in the transformation of the mind – from an ordinary mind full of noise, like a whole army of frenzied and drunken monkeys – to a still mind.” (http://www.hinduwisdom.info/Yoga_and_Hindu_Philosophy.htm)

It also expresses: “Yoga is an integral part of the Hindu religion. There is a saying: “There is no Yoga without Hinduism and no Hinduism without Yoga.”

I took a Yoga class before at the YMCA because I worked there teaching Taekwondo and Kickboxing. I was waiting around for my class to start and followed along. Yes, the movements and poses they do can sometimes be challenging or build isolated muscles strength by various holds. It can also increase flexibility. This class was pretty much Yoga for yuppies and not a deeply spiritual class. The instructor did use terms that sounded new age and other expressions typical of Yoga instructors. But it was therapeutic in nature and also meditative. Like lying on your back and closing your eyes etc. Some of these drills can be used in a positive way but with Yoga’s historic roots it is obvious such classes are a gateway to New Age belief and Hinduism. This is something the Christian needs to avoid at all costs and not be open to. Of course I did not become demon possessed simply because I took a silly Yoga class for 1 hour and neither would anyone else. But over time becoming open to such ideas and getting deeper into the art you could very well open yourself up to unbiblical spiritual beliefs that can have a serous effect on you.

Yoga is simply a gateway into the eastern mystical traditions for the western culture. It is a shame many churches hold Yoga classes for their congregations. Yoga is simply a way that Satan uses to influence people and to soften their views of mysticism, new age, and occultic practices. We should shun it.

When I came back from the Philippines and was walking out of Los Angeles International Airport a Hare Krisha cult memeber gave me a tract talking about reincarnation. I took it home to see what they believe. Harre Krishna is a cult of Hinduism started in New York city by an Indian named Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. It has gone international and has members worldwide. It is a modern Hindu sect. The man at the airport randomly wanted to speak to me and handed me several books. I had no clue what he wanted and I said, “Huh? You are giving these to me?” Then he demanded money and I said, “Money? No way! And gave them back.” He was pretty dumb about it. He was behaving in the manner of “No money? Then you cannot have these.” But he did give me a small booklet titles “Beyond Birth and Death.” It says i was written by “His divine grace, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Founder-Acarya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness.”

Chapter 2 of this booklet mentions some interesting things that Christians who are thinking about practicing Yoga should consider:

There are different kinds of transcendentalists, who are called yogis— hatha-yogis, jnana-yogis, dhyana-yogis, and bhakti-yogis— and all of them are eligible to be transferred to the spiritual world. The word yoga means “to link up,” and the yoga systems are meant to enable us to link with the transcendental world. As mentioned in the previous chapter, originally we are all connected to the Supreme Lord, but now we have been affected by material contamination. The process is that we have to return to the spiritual world, and the process of linking up is called yoga. Another meaning of the word yoga is “plus.” At the resent moment we are minus God, or minus the Supreme. When we add Krsna— or God— to our lives, this human form of life becomes perfect.” (p. 12)

It states further:

“‘One who, at the time of death, fixes his life air between the eyebrows and, (sic) by the strength of yoga, with an undeviating mind, engages himself in remembering the Supreme Lord in full devotion, will certainly attain to the Supreme Personality of Godhead.’ (Bg. 8.10 [meaning Bhagavad Gita 8.10 the popular 700 verse Hindu Scriptural book] ).” (p. 12-13)

This booklet goes on to explain concepts of Yoga helping the practitioner do transcendental meditation and traveling to planets and other such things and quoting more from the Bhagavad Gita. Such things described in the Hare Krishna booklet I received are clearly unbiblical and contrary to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. A person cannot attain perfection doing physical movements and meditating. A person does not have the divine “within self” and we do not have to return to a spiritual world. Humans are not connected to the “Supreme Lord” unless they are Christians who have the Holy Spirit living in them. Non-Christians are dead in their sins and not at all connected to God until they receive the Gospel message of repentance of their sins and faith in Christ for salvation. And most certainly no one is connected to a false god called Krishna or Krsna whom they deem in the “Supreme Lord.” That is idolatry.

It is clear Christians should NOT participate in Yoga or promote it. Before the Yoga trend athletes have always done various deep stretching, deep breathing, and other positive physical activities. They did not need a “spiritual” attribute to their athletic training. The Bible says, in 1 Timothy 4:8 expresses, “for the training of the body has a limited benefit, but godliness is beneficial in every way, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. ” Paul was clearly teaching that there is a separation from physical training and spiritual training. They are different. The soul and body are not 1 thing. They are separate things. We are stuck in our flesh in this sinful body, and while we live we should do physical training to stay healthy and last longer for the purposes of God. But physical training itself does not save you or benefit you eternally. Our bodies still die. The Bible of course warns us to stay away from unhealthy practices such as gluttony, laziness, drunkenness and other things that give the human body bad health. God does want us to work our bodies and maintain health. But what is more beneficial is true spiritual training and learning from God’s word. It is separate. Practices like Yoga try to combine them and make them one. This is wrong.

There are various physical arts, systems, and styles that a human being can practice. Not all of them are satanic like Yoga. Yes, anything not biblical and contrary to the gospel truth is Satanic and demonic. It was brought fourth by lies to deceive and soften people to sin. Yoga fits this. On the other hand, dancing styles, gymnastics, and various sports are not sinful or full of false religion. Martial arts are also positive and non-religious. The thing about martial arts is uptight legalists do not understand the difference between culture and religion. They assume eastern customs such as bowing to the instructor, or to flags or photos of previous masters are religious worship. This is not true. It is the same as the military saluting those soldiers who died before them and saluting the flags and symbols of their regiments. In martial arts it is purely physical activity unless you practice a style that incorporates Buddhism or another religion into your training. This can happen in certain styles, but one can ignore it and train the self defense techniques. I personally would not recommend any Christian training in a system that promotes a false religion as mandatory study.

In different parts of the world there are different dominate religions. Within a culture a religion does affect certain customs or behaviors, but not every behavior is sinful simply because of a dominant religion. Certain philosophies or ideas are not inherently sinful either. While martial arts can easily be separated from religions (and should be), Yoga cannot. It is strictly a religious practice for Hinduism. It should be avoided. Christians should instead do conditioning classes with deep stretching and a focus on breathing. Martial arts offer this. In Taekwondo I teach my students to stretch in all kinds of ways, Yoga uses some of the same poses as various athletic training, but the training itself does not need Yoga to benefit.

 

A Blessing Through Killing The Wicked

A Blessing Through Killing The Wicked

        The Word of the LORD:

And Moses stood at the camp’s entrance and said, “Whoever is for the Lord, come to me.” And all the Levites gathered around him. 27 He told them, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says, ‘Every man fasten his sword to his side; go back and forth through the camp from entrance to entrance, and each of you kill his brother, his friend, and his neighbor.’”28 The Levites did as Moses commanded, and about 3,000 men fell dead that day among the people.29 Afterward Moses said, “Today you have been dedicated[f] to the Lord, since each man went against his son and his brother. Therefore you have brought a blessing on yourselves today.” Exodus 32:26-29

        The Bible is against murder, but not killing. Killing can be done for various justifiable reasons whereas murder is unjustified and wrong. There is a difference. Any Christian who claims it is wrong to kill or soldiers are sinning because they kill enemies, or capital punishment is wrong because it murders criminals and life in prison is righteous, are not very intelligent or knowledgeable about what God’s Word says. Ecclesiastes 3:3 states that there is “a time to kill.” God commanded the Israelites all over the Old Testament to kill the wicked and commit mass genocide of wicked nations who were under God’s judgment. There were many wars fought with Israel against wicked nations. War then is much the same as it is now, except we do not literally have God commanding battles. Humanity is left on its own to figure it out. The problem is humanity is mostly sinful and the wars they start are for sinful causes. Even so, within this context there are righteous defenses to madmen. WW2 is one example of a righteous cause, a cause to fight the evils of Imperial Japan and Nazi Germany led by madmen who wanted world domination and wanted to grasp it through murder and mayhem and the slaughter of innocent people. To allow such atrocities to occur and not stand up for it is insane. Hardly any normal person would claim it would have been better to let Germany and Japan do what they wanted and we should not have defended against them. All through history wars have been fought. Some wars have 2 sides who are both evil fighting each other much like what was described in the Old Testament where wicked nations fought other wicked nations such as described in Genesis 14.

        The key to being on the right side of any war is knowledge of the Bible and God’s standards of what is good. Obviously, if someone today wanted to fight the Islamic State most Americans would say that I.S. is an evil entity (whether or not one would think we should send troops or not). Being against them is righteous. Also, killing them is also righteous. Going to battle against I.S. and killing them is how you can stop them. In WW2 the Allies won the wars by going into battle and killing as many NAZIs and as many Imperialists on both the Western and pacific fronts. That is how you win wars. One side says, “we want to do this and will kill you to get it,” and the other says, “no you won’t because we will stop you and defend ourselves and kill you.” That is war. To win and to allow a better world to survive you must kill the enemy and as many as you can before have the advantage ot win so that they will surrender.

        It can be said killing is morally permissable also for capital punishment. Laws in the Bible over and over demanded the death of certain people who broke certain laws. Some laws were not punishable by death, but many were. Capital punishment is promoted by the LORD all over the Old Testament as well as supported by the New Testament when Paul states that “if you do wrong, be afraid, for [the government rulers] does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer.” Certain grievous sins deserve the death penalty. Wasting time on people serving life sentences is a waste of resources. God does not teach that we should provide life imprisonment for murderers or rapists, but they they should be put to death.

     God told Moses to command the Levites to kill everyone they could going forward to the other side of the camp, and then back to the first side of the camp. It was a forward and back clean sweep of everyone including their own family members and neighbors. God demanded the death for the horrible sin of idolatry right after God had rescued the Hebrews from Egypt. Moses stated that the Levites received blessing from God because of the act of killing approximately 3,000 people in 1 day. God demanded the execution of the wicked and it was just, because God commanded it, and they were under his righteous judgment. Sometimes it really is correct to kill people and God will bless those who do it.

        I believe God blessed America and the Allies in all the the killing of enemies in WW2 and provided a temporary time of prosperity for America. But like the Israelites America has become lazy, stiff necked, immoral, and idolatrous. America will not last much longer at the rate things are going.

        The only time killing is justified is if it is commanded by God, which today God is not physically present and audibly commanding things. God’s Word is how we receive God’s commandments. Any execution and any war fought needs to line up with Scripture. A soldier is under the command of his government and sent off to battle, they are not held accountable for killing enemies in battle. On the other hand, unjustified death such as mass genocide of innocent people is sinful. The only mass genocide commanded by God was in the Old Testament because the nations were under his judgment, not one person was innocent in those nations and God had deemed that it was their time to go. It was a specific time in Israel’s history for their nation and society alone. It is not a command by God to kill everyone who is in a false religion. God is perfect and absolutely holy. He is a righteous judge and allowed to make decisions on who lives and who dies. Nobody else! No one else in the Old Testament made these judgments, but simply followed orders from God who literally was there telling them what to do. Through Christ, now days we understand that vengeance is God’s and not ours, so we spread the Gospel. But when we are attacked by evil forces, or our family is in danger by criminals we are very justified in defending ourselves even to the point of killing a criminal or attacker, as well as justified in sending soldiers to war to face enemies and hopefully killing them. I believe today the truest evil in the world we are threatened with are the radical Islamists, the Islamic terrorists, who are torturing, raping, murdering, at an unbelievable rate everyone who does not perfectly fit their ideology. These enemies are named the Islamic State and Al Qaeda (including all their affiliates).  I believe it is morally justified to kill as many of them as we can before they kill all of us. And believe me they will kill as many Americans as they can if they get here. Our government has a God given obligation to protect us and defeat such types of enemies. Sending soldiers to battle is the right thing to do, yet our President does not care. The time to kill is now!

What You Need To Know About The Philippines If You Plan To Do A Mission

What You Need To Know About The Philippines If You Plan To Do A Mission

*I originally wrote this in 2008 for a class I was taking at Biola University for my Intercultural Studies Degree. I wrote this before I left on my internship. It is a report on the Philippines with various information to show I was prepared before I left to the country for my summer mission trip. Unfortunately I did not get to go in 2008, and instead had to re-plan to go in 2009 which I did and which made me even more prepared to go. I had a great time in the Philippines and was given many opportunities to serve Filipinos for Christ and witness the gospel. I learned a lot about life through this trip and it changed my life. I have updated bits and pieces to be more accurate for today even though I wrote this 7 years ago. This report will help anyone who wants more information about the Philippines or just has a general interest in other countries and experiences. Filipinos who read this will also get an understanding of what an American learned and thinks about their country.   

April 5th, 2008

Report on the Country of the Philippines: Research Before I Go On My Internship

I have planned my internship to be in the country of the Philippines in the capitol city of Manila. I will be working with missionaries in evangelization within the urban poor areas. There are many interesting things about this country that I have found out about before leaving on my internship.

The country of the Philippines is an archipelagic nation in South East Asia. It is below Japan and right above Indonesia. Directly left to it is Vietnam. According to the CIA website “the Philippine archipelago is made up of 7,107 islands; favorably located in relation to many of Southeast Asia’s main water bodies: the South China Sea, Philippine Sea, Sulu Sea, Celebes Sea, and Luzon Strait” (cia.gov).

In ancient times it was a region of different tribes and band societies. This pre-Spanish history of the country is very hard to know. According to Woods (2006), “The written materials about the pre-Spanish Philippines are not only scarce, but also written almost exclusively by outsiders” (p. 15). Nonetheless, we know that the Philippines was in contact with traders and merchants from China, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia and the regions around it. Muslims came up through Malaysia and Indonesia and heavily influenced the southern region of the Islands in the area of Mindanao. To this day there are a lot of Muslims in that region and some are fundamentalists and terrorists. There is an Islamic terrorist organization called Abu Sayyaf. This started out as an organization solely for Islamic rebels, but has since become corrupt within its corruption and is now a front for typical organized crime such as kidnapping to hold people ransom. They especially go after white foreigners because they believe they would have a lot of money and rich relatives that would pay the ransom. They still try to kidnap other Filipinos as well. Colin-Jones G. & Colin-Jones Y. (2006) state that,
“The Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG), is funded through bombings, assassinations, kidnappings, and extortion, and its successful raid on Dos Palmas, an island off Palawan, has had a bad effect on tourism in the area. Such groups are not driven by ideology, but may rather be regarded as bandits seeking to make a fast buck. The sooner they are destroyed, the better it will be for tourism” (p. 126). I will not be doing my internship in that area so I am going to be safe from this problem.

In the past, Spain had ruled the Philippines for over 350 years. Ever since the arrival of Ferdinand Magellan in 1521 in the name of Spain, this nation has battled with self identity and oppression by other people groups. The problems with self identity in this country can even be seen by its own name, the Philippines; the name of Prince Philip of Spain (1542). Even today certain groups in the Philippines want to change their countries name to something else. Another issue that made matters more frustrating to the Filipinos was what happened in the Spanish-American War in 1899. The U.S. took advantage of Spain’s colony of the Philippines and attacked its harbor and took it over for their own control. This led to the Philippine-American War that started in 1899 just after the Americans defeated the Spanish to control the Philippines. Filipino rebels led by Emilio Aguinaldo fought against the United States in hope to be free from outside oppressors. This war was one of the most violent and brutal wars in Filipino and American history and lasted for about 2 years when it ended in 1901.

Not all Filipinos opposed the Americans though, as many understood that a lot of money was being put into the country from the USA. After the Americans won the war against the Filipino rebels they began a process of establishing infrastructure. The United States built many highways, roads, schools, hospitals and more. They built Navy bases to be used by American troops as well. Unfortunately this was impeded when the Japanese took over the Philippines in 1942 until 1945 during World War II. During this time the horrific Bataan Death March took place under the notorious General Yamashita, the Tiger of Malaya. Solis (1995) describes it:

The Bataan death March began on April 1, 1942, with more than 60,000 Filipinos and 11,000 Americans who had surrendered. They were forced to hike to San Fernando, 120 kilometers away. From there they were taken by train to Capas, Tarlac and made to walk another 13 kilometers to Camp O’Donnel. The 54,000 who survived the march which was nine days of “phantasmagoria of swirling red dust, sweltering horses and moving men…crawling in the fierce sun” suffered added torture, brutality and neglect in the prison camp. By liberation day, only 4,000 Filipino and American prisoners survived” (p. 63).

As you can see the Philippines is a country that has been through a lot of problems. It still is going through problems. Even after the Americans released the country to govern itself on July 4th of 1946, the Philippines has become very corrupt even though it is a democracy. One of the most notorious corrupt leader’s they had was named Ferdinand Marcos who became a dictator. He was president of the Philippines from 1965-1986. He declared martial law in his second term because he claimed that communist insurgency was a threat (which it was, but he was taking advantage of it). Steinberg (1990), quotes Marcos as saying, “I, as your duly elected President of the Republic, use this power to protect the Republic of the Philippines and our democracy” (p. 118). In reality, Marcos used martial law because he did not want to give up his authority since his term was about to expire. During this time there were a lot of human rights violations, but at the same time the economy was booming high so this excused him to many outsiders, especially the United States. Marcos was using the country for his own personal gain.

Eventually in 1986 there was a coup. After many mass protests with Filipino university students in colleges all over the world, and many in the United States, and other protests, people who were tired of Marcos’ dictatorship took up arms and went against Marcos forces. But there was virtually no bloodshed. Marcos fled the country and President Aquino took over who was a woman. Democracy was put back in place, but still the Philippines would be plagued with corruption in the government. The CIA website on the Philippines explains some of the recent history,

The 20-year rule of Ferdinand MARCOS ended in 1986, when a “people power” movement in Manila (“EDSA 1”) forced him into exile and installed Corazon AQUINO as president. Her presidency was hampered by several coup attempts, which prevented a return to full political stability and economic development. Fidel RAMOS was elected president in 1992 and his administration was marked by greater stability and progress on economic reforms. In 1992, the US closed its last military bases on the islands. Joseph ESTRADA was elected president in 1998, but was succeeded by his vice-president, Gloria MACAPAGAL-ARROYO, in January 2001 after ESTRADA’s stormy impeachment trial on corruption charges broke down and another “people power” movement (“EDSA 2”) demanded his resignation. MACAPAGAL-ARROYO was elected to a six-year term as president in May 2004” (cia.gov).

Today the current political climate in the Philippines is still corrupt in its government and even much of the police are corrupt and will take bribes, and put people in situations in order to get bribes. People still vote for things, but there are a lot of shady things going on behind the scenes. Many of the people know this and figure it’s something they can’t get past and just live life knowing corruption will always be there. The Philippines is very friendly to the United States as our country put a lot of effort into their country in the last century. Filipinos also greatly admire Western culture and the country has become very westernized. There were also many American military bases in the country, but in the 1990’s the country voted to kick them out so they no longer exist there. There are mixed feelings about this issue because many Filipinos realized that with the military bases lots of money was coming into their country and was helping out for their benefit. Other people saw it as imperialism still existing, and they still have very nationalistic feelings of being totally independent from outside forces. Interestingly enough Colin-Jones, G., & Colin-Jones Y. (2006) explain,

In general, Filipinos are very welcoming toward foreigners. Some people say that they still have a colonial ‘mentality,’ admiring fair skins and regarding imported goods as superior. There also is the stereotypical belief that all foreigners are very wealthy. For many Filipinos it would be a dream come true if they could go live in the United States” (p. 58).

The military bases were a mixed blessing. With these bases a lot of money did come into the country, but also many people took advantage of the fact that military bases are full of young, lonely men. Many Filipino’s opened up brothels, sex clubs as well as produced a lot of pornography. Since that time, many young helpless Filipina women were taken into sexual slavery and there now exists a large sex trade. There is still a huge prostitution problem in the country and many women are taken advantage of and kidnapped. Many women are traded overseas to places like Hong Kong, Japan, and other places. Many foreigners come to the Philippines to have sex with underage girls and even boys. Women are kidnapped after being scammed. They are told they will have a job working as a waitress or something similar, but in reality they are tricked into prostitution because the women are forced into debt with no way to pay back the owners of the businesses for the price of housing, and their only option is to give sex for money or else harm comes to them.
With this sexual attitude there is also a problem of the production of pornography being distributed around the world made by Filipinos. Filipinos are the main people responsible for much of the sex trafficking and degradation of their society. Foreigners interested in sex are only obliged by Filipinos themselves and the Philippines as a result has become one of the top sex tourist attractions of Asia not much beneath Thailand in popularity. This lifestyle promises easy money which will give lots of wealth. Women in desperate situations become involved in pornography. Many women who are single mothers want a better life for their children and they think the only way to do that is to do porn or become a prostitute. One of the major money making things from pornography has come with the popularity of the internet as there are many internet cafes in the urban areas. Many Filipinas sign up on what seems to be a system of network marketing for webcams. Women pose nude and do sexual acts on webcams for viewers who have paid with credit cards. They become internet prostitutes. This eases up the risk of STD’s since the women have a choice of what goes on and many times are alone on the camera. When I first heard about this I felt heartbroken for these women. These women need answers to life, and that answer is only through Jesus Christ.

My internship has been planned to be within the urban poor areas of the city of Manila. This city is the capitol of the Philippines and is known for their large shopping malls, but even within such a consumer based area, many people are poor and living in shacks. According to Woods (2006),

The hundreds of thousands of people who have moved to Manila to find their fortune, or simply a better way of life, often end up in slum areas around Manila…Most slum dwellers are squatters who lack such essential services as water and electricity. They are forced to drink water either from the government- supplied tap in the market or from polluted water-ways near by. The urban poor are always present in Manila, even in affluent sections; most of them are either unemployed or work as street vendors” (p. 147).

So you can see that there are a lot of problems in this city, even though it is a very glamorous and a famous place.

Most Filipino movies are also made here as well as TV shows and the country has five popular TV networks based in the city. There are also many theater production companies as well as two ballet companies: Ballet Philippines and Philippines Ballet Theater. There are also orchestras. With these attractions it is easy to forget the hundreds of thousands of poor people within the city boundaries. Fortunately, the church I am going with has a contracts set up with whom I will be a part of that will work in evangelization of these people and hand out food, teach Bible stories to kids, and other such things. Hopefully these efforts will make a difference for some people so they will find God.

There are a few major ethnic groups in the Philippines. Filipinos are descendents of Austronesian speaking peoples who migrated from Taiwan down to the Pacific Islands. There are many different groups of people. According to the CIA website the ethnic populations are: ”Tagalog 28.1%, Cebuano 13.1%, Ilocano 9%, Bisaya/Binisaya 7.6%, Hiligaynon, Ilonggo 7.5%, Bikol 6%, Waray 3.4%, other 25.3% (2000 census)” (cia.gov). The wealthiest ethnic group would have to be the Spanish mixed Mestisos. These people have a high degree of Spanish blood and are usually the upper class people. They have a lighter skin complexion that Filipinos favor as well. Then there are the Negritos which are various small tribe societies which are thought to be the original inhabitants of the islands. There are also a small amount of other Asian ethnic groups such as Koreans, Japanese, Chinese, Indonesian, Malaysian and others which are minorities. Most Filipinos have Chinese blood in them as well.

The major languages spoken in the Philippines which are listed on the CIA website are the following: “Filipino (official; based on Tagalog) and English (official); eight major dialects – Tagalog, Cebuano, Ilocano, Hiligaynon or Ilonggo, Bicol, Waray, Pampango, and Pangasinan” (cia.gov). Almost everyone speaks English in the Philippines, especially the educated. People also understand some Spanish because of the Spanish colonial rule had a huge affect on their language as Tagalog uses many Spanish loan words. There are also a significant amount of English loan words with the increase of technology and communication in the world.

Nonverbal language is also used in different ways in the Philippines than it is used in the United States such as their use of smiles. Colin-Jones G., & Colin-Jones Y. (2006) explain, “Filipinos are often regarded as happy, smiling people – but the smile conveys many different feelings, apart from contentment. They smile when they are embarrassed, confused, apologetic, critical, or in disagreement. They want to avoid confrontation, and are concerned about ‘losing face’” (p. 163). So Filipinos will smile if they cannot help you, or don’t understand you so you will not be angry. They also smile if you make a mistake to wait for you to recover. One should not assume the Filipino is laughing at them. They are simply helping you save face.
Eye contact is the same as American use of eye contact in the Philippines, but there are other interesting nonverbal uses of communication. Filipinos say “yes” with their eye brows. When asked a question it is normal for Filipinos to answer “yes” by raising their eye brows up and down one time. Also, Filipinos point with their lips when giving directions. They shape their lips in a “kissing” type of motion and turn their heads in the direction of wherever you want to go or wherever something is you are looking for. A westerner can often become confused by this as eye brow raising and lip pursing is seen as flirtatious in western culture.

With the Tagalog language the basic greeting is “Kamusta?” and that simply means “Hello, how are you?” Filipinos will also say “Hey” like Americans too. Another interesting word is “Hoy!” This word means “Come here!” It is usually said to get a friend’s attention who is far away or to speak to a child. You never say this to an elder or someone in a position of respect. To get a Filipino’s attention you can also say “Ssst!” or “Tssst!” It is not much unlike the American word of “Psst!” to get someone’s attention. With Filipinos, friends always use “tssst” to get each other’s attention. Also, using hand gestures to attract a person over to you would be to move your hand about chin height and wave as if saying goodbye in a downward motion. It is funny because in America this means “goodbye,” but in the Philippines it means “come here” or “over here.” Never use your fingers and curl them upwards to get someone to come over to you. That is seen as very impolite and rude. And do not snap your fingers to get anyone’s attention either. In America these may be common ways to get a person;s attention, but in the Philippines these are things you do to get a cat or dog’s attention, not a human’s. It is really offensive!

Filipinos are very indirect and they seek to save face in every situation. Their culture is a shame based culture and collectivistic in most senses. But the American influence of individualism is clearly coming around. Filipinos will not ask too many questions if it will make them look like they don’t know what they are doing. So knowing this I will have to make sure I tell Filipinos things they need to know so they can do things right if they are helping me in case I wanted a repair done or something. Otherwise they might just guess and break something. This happens a lot to foreigners.

Filipino society is very conservative outwardly and women dress modestly and so do the men. There is a huge influence of western culture that causes men and women to dress “American”, but generally Filipinos dress conservative and most of the time they are wearing t-shirts and shorts, because the weather is so hot and humid. But even with the weather so hot, the higher class Filipinos dress nicely and wear pants and women wear skirts and they wear nice shoes. Most other Filipinos wear sandals called “tsinelas”. But the “very conservative” attitude is changing a lot with the newer generation of young people who want to be more “liberated.”

Rice is the staple food of the Philippines. Without rice, a Filipino cannot live. Rice provides a significant amount of the nutrition they eat each day. Many Filipinos are poor so most of what they have to eat is rice. They eat rice at every meal. Other types of foods Filipinos eat are fish, chicken, and beef, many different kinds of tropical fruits and also vegetables. They even eat the bones of fish and put them in soup as to not waste food because some Filipinos are so poor they cannot always afford to have what Americans would think are “good slices of meat.” Many of the Philippines dishes are influenced by this philosophy or historic reality, yet they have made such “poor dishes” into delicacies truly unique to their country. Most of these foods are sold in the markets. Since the Philippines are many islands surrounded by water there is a big fishing industry.

Filipinos are very hospitable. If someone visits a Filipino’s home, the Filipino will always have some food to give to the guest. The guest has to receive the food no matter what, even if they are not hungry. This is polite. If you are not hungry you can ask for it to take with you to go. This is how Filipinos show their manners and are polite. When you visit a friend’s house in the Philippines make sure you are hungry because every time you go to a house you will be fed. Filipinos enjoy company and they will even ask questions that come off as too personal in American culture such as, “How much money do you make at your job?” when they don’t know you that well. This is not to be taken as rude, but showing a general interest in the people who they are talking with.

The national religion of the Philippines is Catholicism making the country the first and only “Christian influenced” nation in Asia. Almost every Filipino claims to be Catholic even if they don’t go to church. There are other religions such as Animism which is practiced more by the indigenous, rural tribal societies who have original religions that predate the Spanish. After Spanish rule witchcraft was also adopted into their superstitions. Shamanism, and sorcery have always been a part of their societies and Western witchcraft ideas and superstitions also became a part of it. With these religions there are a few Millenarian groups that mix indigenous beliefs with Roman Catholicism. In the south in the region of Mindanao there is a small Muslim concentration and the group Abu Sayyaf. The terrorist organization for Islamic Fundamentalism is active there. There are a small amount of Buddhists as well. Various Christian denominations have also arrived in the Philippines because of American rule and allowance of missionaries to arrive. Along with genuine Christian missionaries various cults such as Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses and others have also arrived. This is unfortunate, and another religion based off of these cults that has gained popularity in the Philippines is Iglesia Ni Kristo, which was founded by Felix Y. Manalo, a Filipino who used religion for his gain. The INC could be considered the Filipino version of Mormonism. It is a cult.

With all of these religions there is still Protestantism in the country. Woods (2006), says that

President McKinley’s [(The American president during and after the Philippine-American War)] decision to keep the Philippines included a religious component, the need to evangelize and convert the local population. He gained support for his decision from major denominations in the United States because they saw the Philippines as a new mission field where they would have the freedom to do missionary work. The rejection of Catholicism by many Filipinos because of the abuses of the church made them open to embracing a new religion” (pp. 124-125).

Unfortunately this turned into the spread of the social gospel which focused more on changes of the institution instead of changes in individuals’ lives. Today most evangelical Christians are Pentecostal. This probably has to do with their superstitious nature and emotional culture which leads them to seek after the supernatural experiences that Pentecostals practice. There are still a small amount of other evangelical denominations. Christianity in the country is viewed in a positive light since the majority of Filipinos are Catholic. They are open to talk about Jesus Christ, but there is still some strong opposition against Protestantism and what they call “born again Christianity” which they label to anyone who is not a Catholic. This included mainliners and baptists as well as mistakenly applied to cults.

When I stay in the Philippines the climate is going to be very hot and humid. I will arrive in Manila and catch another flight to Bacolod and Boracay later and then go back to Manila before leaving to the USA. There are about 240 airports in the country, but they are mostly small. The main one is in Manila where I will arrive. The CIA website lists the cities of Cagayan de Oro, Cebu, Davao, Liman, Manila, Nasipit Harbor having ports and terminals (cia.gov). The U.S. Embassy is in Manila as well. Knowing all of the information in my research I can better be effective as an agent to serve Christ with the small Fil-Am church in Southern California I am going with.

References

(2008) CIA – The World Factbook – Philippines. Retrieved April 5th, 2008, from the CIA Web site: http://www.cia.gov

Colin-Jones, G., Colin-Jones, & Y. (2006). Culture Smart! Philippines. New York, New York: Random House.

Steinberg, D. (1990). The Philippines a Singular and a Plural Place. San Francisco, California and Oxford: Westview Press.

Solis, M. (1995). Pilipinas A to Z. Salinas, California: Srmnk Publishers.

Woods, D. (2006). The Philippines: A Global Studies Handbook. Santa Barbara, California: ABC-CLIO, Inc.

 

God Mandated Taxes But He Did Not Mandate Wealth Redistribution

God Mandated Taxes But He Did Not Mandate Wealth Redistribution

        God mandated that people pay taxes. The first time this occurs in the Bible is in Exodus 30:11-16. Most Christians know that Jesus said, “Give to Cesar that which is Cesar’s and to God that which is God’s.” But many Christians might not remember, or know that God also commanded the ancient Israelites to pay a “ransom” tax. God commanded Moses:

“The LORD spoke to Moses: ‘When you take a census of the Israelites to register them, each of the men must pay a ransom for himself to the LORD as they are registered. Then no plague will come on them as they are registered. Everyone who is registered must pay half a shekel according to the sanctuary shekel (20 gerahs to the shekel). This half shekel is a contribution to the LORD. Each man who is registered, 20 years old or more, must give this contribution to the LORD. The wealthy may not give more, and the poor may not give less, then half a shekel when giving the contribution to the LORD to atone for your lives. Take the atonement money from the Israelites and use it for the service of the tent of meeting. It will serve as a reminder for the Israelites before the LORD to atone for your lives.'” 

This was a tax that only men had to pay. Women did not have to pay it. Only men had to pay this tax and they were commanded at age 20 to register for this “ransom tax.” So any time there was a need to take a census for the Israelites the men who were 20 or older had to pay half a shekel. That is not a large amount of money. It served to keep the tent of meeting services going. This atoned for their lives. If they did not pay it they would fall ill and by the language used probably die.

What is noticeable is that this tax was equal for all people. It was not more expensive for rich people, nor was it less expensive for poor people. It was the same tax. Today the idea of “wealth redistribution has been talked about, especially from President Obama” that each person needs to give their fair share. Democrats like Obama believe that rich people should pay an extra tax simply because they have success. It punishes people for success and rewards people for non-success, or less-success. A lot of liberals who claim to be Christians believe that socialist ideas of wealth redistribution are what Jesus would do. That God would want rich people to pay more. This is simply not true. The first statement in the Bible about any kind of charge, or tax for the collective Israelites states firmly that the payment is the exact same no matter their financial status. The tax was also very small and affordable for everyone. Also, the age was 20 and not 18 as it is in our country.

God does not hold favor for rich or for poor people and makes them all the same. God did not punish or charge more for successful, or rich class Israelites and neither should our government. Our government is corrupt and many liberals use the Bible to justify this coercion and our economy is failing. Taxes are charges for all kinds of things beyond reason that most people should not be forced to pay for. Americans should only have to pay for the necessities such as roads, police and fire departments, military defense, and government officials. Yet we are charged for so many failing public services that never allow people to rise above. It is an attack on capitalism. The separation of the “have nots” and “haves” is nowhere found in the Bible. But it is everywhere found in communism which is an atheistic religion of social construct. The Israelites were only charges for the necessities of the tabernacle’s functions so that God will be properly worshiped throughout their generations. There was no extra taxes for random government programs in Israel.

Jesus Christ is God and what God commands in the Old Testament is the same opinion Jesus had and has. Just because Jesus told people to give to Cesar what he demands does not mean Cesar was right to charge the taxes he did. That is why tax collectors were so hated in Christ’s time on earth. They were robbing the people. That is what the U.S. government seems to be doing today and crushing our economy so we are dependent solely on the government for anything. That is the goal of the progressives in our society in the United States.

Government Mandated Vaccines: What About My Body My Choice?

Government Mandated Vaccines: What About My Body My Choice?

        The hypocrisy of the Left is always apparent. I for one do agree that vaccines should be given to children. There was a scare propagated by the Left that vaccines contribute to autism in children. Many people were afraid to give their children vaccines because they heard it could make their child autistic. Even Barrack Obama was mentioning this in his addresses to the nation years ago. Today on Sunday (Feb. 8th, 2015) I was listening to talk radio as I do when I drive. It was the “Rush Limbaugh’s greatest moments of the week” broadcast. He talked about this issue and how the Left propagates scares with faulty science. He likened the scare to the false “war on women” they tried to pin on Mitt Romney when he was running. Today though the tables have turned and the left is now making up a new propaganda scare, completely turning it around to say that Republicans are against vaccines. This is bogus! This is exactly like the bogus “war on women” they made up.

        The fact is very few people are against vaccines in children. Some even promote government mandated vaccination. I am on the fence. I believe, like Global Warming, that the science behind the autism scare was faulty and proven false. Now the Left is agreeing that the autism scare they propagated is not accurate. Now they are pretending only “crazy conservatives” think that there is a link to autism and vaccines.  In fact very few would deny their children vaccines.

        I do think everyone should vaccinate their children because it is a matter of public health. I am also not a conspiracy theorist who thinks that vaccinations inject the 666 micro chip into people (because conspiracy theorists are a bunch of wack jobs who make rational Christians look bad to the general population, we are not all crazy!). On the other hand it is a fundamental, God given, American right to not be forced to put things into our bodies, or our children’s bodies. All though I do think any parent who denies their child vaccine is doing a disservice to their own child’s health as well as the general public’s health. I do think public schools should mandate vaccinations to protect other children. So if you deny vaccines then homeschool your children. I am sure many of the people who hold this view already do anyway.

        Limbaugh stated that diseases like measles and others that have vaccines provided were basically finished and not a threat. America got rid of them. He then brought up the real issue about open boarders. Where are the new diseases coming from? They are coming from the illegal aliens none other than the Left seems to embrace.

        The left is always adamant about American rights. Women have the right to abort their babies because they are not real humans and just globs of biological mass because,

“It’s my body! My choice!”

We should be allowed to do drugs because,

“It’s my body! My choice!”

We have the right to die and commit suicide because,

“It’s my body! My choice!”

We can eat whatever we want because,

“No you can’t. It may be your body but it is not your choice! Michelle Obama does not approve!”

We do not have to get vaccinations because,

“It’s NOT your body and NOT your choice. The government says so!”

Uh oh…

We do not have the right to eat any kinds of food we want or pack certain kinds of lunches for our children’s school lunch because it does not have a “perfect” nutritional value and we are “AT WAR WITH OBESITY!” And apparently, we do not have the right to not get vaccinations for ourselves and not our children. But apparently illegal aliens who spread throughout our country (am embraced by Obama’s America) do not have to get vaccinated. Who is spreading it? Certainly not the minority Americans who do not approve of vaccinations.

        The hypocrisy of the left!!!