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.

 

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.

Just Because You Named It “Jesus” Does Not Make It True

Just Because You Named It “Jesus” Does Not Make It True

        In this past decade I often heard over and over, especially what I was taught at the Christian university I graduated from, that what is important is people acknowledge Jesus Christ. As long as they claim they believe in Christ then things are okay. Go to a foreign culture and start a church then convince them to believe in Jesus then let them run the show. They will have their own theology which is different from your “western mindset of theology.” The whole idea that every culture has its own theology and all are equally valid. This is just the current postmodern evangelicalism that is the norm now days. “It does not matter what they believe, just as long as they have Jesus!!!!!” is what they aggressively proclaim among those old “theologians” and “doctrine followers.’

        Proponents of this belief use Acts 4:12 as a refutation to those would would suggest true Christians must believe in the right biblical interpretation and doctrines to be saved. The verse says, There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to people, and we must be saved by it.” Their logic is that it is the “name of Christ” that matters. As long as it is not Allah, Buddha or some other false god and they call it Christ then it is valid Christianity. They also use Philippians 2:11, “and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” But is it possible that people who listen to a missionary or an evangelist then are let loose to do their own thing might possibly inaccurately name something Jesus that really is not? Does simply professing Jesus Christ as Lord, and stating those words, prove someone is a true believer? 

        Jesus Himself answered those questions in Matthew 24:24, “False messiahs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.” It seems that our Lord Himself already made sure people knew there is the possibility of mislabeling someone as Himself. There were some even before Him who claimed they were the Messiah. Why the postmodern evangelical does not embrace this simply shows they do not care what Jesus Himself says, but what they feel is right and good. The Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 11:4 admonishes,

“For if a person comes and preaches another Jesus,whom we did not preach, or you receive a different spirit, which you had not received, or a different gospel, which you had not accepted, you put up with it splendidly!

Is the Jesus of Mormonism true? The Jesus of Jehovah’s Witnesses true? The Isa (Jesus) of Islam true? There are a plethora of false Christ’s in various heretical religions. Wikipedia has a huge list of them. If someone can label an actual person as Christ who actually is not, and if Mormonism can create one out of thin air, is it not possible that other people who claim the Bible have created a false Jesus as well? 

        Isn’t it logical to assume that when Satan created a false religion and it gets known and then the overall evangelical consensus agrees that such religions are outside of the biblical faith and are heretical, such as Mormons, Modalists, etc., that Satan would just create a new one and be more deceptive than before and make a new Jesus Christ religion that is false? 1 Peter 5:8 says that Satan is a roaring lion seeking who he may devour.  2 Corinthians 11:3 says Satan is cunning. and verse 14 says Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Satan is so deceptive and extremely intelligent and has been for the entire worlds history since his own rebellion began early in creation history. This means he has had thousands upon thousands of years of knowledge and practice in lies to come up with new ways, new systems, and new counterfeits that mimic the truth in such a way it almost looks identical yet it leads one to hell. Common sense says so.

        For example what if a man named Carlos did a great thing to help some people, but then another guy named Carlos who is not the same guy but just has the same name takes credit? Is that just? Is that giving the proper man his honor? Someone would say, “but I do know Carlos did that great thing for us…” but he is giving credit to a totally different person named Carlos! It is much like that new Taco Bell commercial that came out where various men named Ronald McDonald, actual people existing who have that actual name, are seen enjoying the new Taco Bell breakfast. We are given the impression that the McDonald’s created character and mascot which is a clown named Ronald McDonald enjoys Taco Bell breakfast. Taco Bell can claim, “Ronald McDonald even likes our breakfast more than McDonald’s.” And then a child who loves his happy meal’s would hear it and think, “Wow the clown from McDonald’s loves taco Bell breakfast more than his own McDonald’s breakfast!” But this is not true. It just so happens there are people in the United States that happen to have the same name but are not actually the clown Ronald McDonald and have absolutely no relation to the McDonald’s Corp. Likewise, this silly analogy, shows that it is possible and extremely likely many people names Jesus or non-existent character creations (just like McDonald’s clown Ronald McDonald) are given the exact same name. It is not the true Jesus Christ and worshiping this false Jesus Christ does not save anyone from hell but keeps them in sin and in rebellion against the truth.

        More Christians need to understand that truth is absolutely important, absolutely true, and has no place or time to waste in anything false. Christianity must be clean and pure of false teaching. Too many churches put up with false teachers and new ideas and new theologies that are not true and cause confusion and disruptions. So many Christian universities teach these things and then tell the college students and seminary students to be satisfied in something less than true. This is the point we are at in Christian history. May more true believers combat false Jesus’s and not be satisfied with mere terms like “jesus” or “christ” but make sure that converts and churches believe in THE JESUS and THE CHRIST of the BIBLE! The Holy Spirit enlightens us to accurately interpret the Bible, but sinful men have controlled the popular preaching and teaching of the Bible and lead people astray and are too lazy to actually change a person’s mind to follow accurate truth. Evangelicalism is a lazy, non-confrontational culture that allows for anything as long as it is “christian” and certainly makes enough money off of it. Just because someone says they worship Jesus does not mean they do. The rational Christian understands this.

Who Was Cain Afraid Would Kill Him?

Who Was Cain Afraid Would Kill Him?

        Cain was cursed by God because he murdered his brother Abel. When God questioned him about the murder He condemned Cain to life as a wanderer in the wilderness. The ground would no longer yield its crops for Cain to survive with sustenance. His previous skills as an agriculturalist would no longer work for him as the ground would always fail his crops because of God’s supernatural punishment making it impossible for Cain to have any success growing food. Cain most likely had to rely on others growing food and also hunting animals, or foraging wild plants he did not plant himself. Cain was afraid of this punishment and claimed it was too harsh because anyone who found him wandering around the wilderness would want to kill him since he murdered his brother. This excuse seems illogical since if the sole reason people would want to kill Cain was that he murdered his brother, how would it be any different if he had a farm and grew crops and stayed in one place? Wouldn’t people still want to kill him, and to find him easier in order to kill him since he is not wandering around? Wandering around would keep him out of people’s way and make it harder for people to find him if he is evasive enough. But Cain mentions that he would be banished from God’s presence. So Cain understood that in God’s presence there is protection. People who are not in the presence of God do not have God’s protection. Cain was banished away from a relationship with God. Even so, Cain was just making an excuse about his punishment and was the world’s first murderer.

        With Cain’s grievance, he made the claim people would want to kill him. He understood that people would want vengeance, and since he had the ability to kill someone, other people had the ability to kill as well. Since Abel had the ability to die by violence, Cain understood he had the ability to die by violence from someone else since he was human just as his brother. Cain had fear that there were other people who would kill him. Who were these people that Cain was afraid would kill him? This section of Scripture can be found in Genesis 4:13-14 where Cain mentions his fear of being killed. After reading this passage one would wonder who Cain could possibly be talking about since all that the Bible mentions are Adam, Eve, Cain, and Abel existing and does not mention other people. So who was he afraid would kill him? There are a few options of who they could be.

        The only people that this part of the Bible mentions being alive were Adam, Eve, Cain and Abel (until he was murdered). No other children are mentioned until the next chapter when it talks about the line of Cain, and also Adam through Seth. It is possible that Adam had some daughters during this time that were alive during Abel’s death. Genesis 4:3 says “In the course of time” when referring to the grievance that Cain had which enraged him to murder. This was the time when Cain and Abel both offered sacrifices and God rejected Cain’s offering of crops. So after Cain and Abel were born there was a passing of some time. Genesis is not clear on how long this time was, but it had to be enough for Cain and Abel to be grown up and mature. During the course of time it is possible Adam and Eve had daughters and Cain may have taken one to be his wife and had children by this time, and it is plausible, by the time he murdered Cain, these children were old enough to be able to understand what Cain did and also had the ability to kill him. It is also possible that Cain’s sisters (Adam and Eve’s daughters) would try to kill him as well. Women do have the ability to kill men, it is not impossible.

        When reading Scripture it shows that it was unlikely Abel had a wife and children, since there is no mention of his line. It is also apparent that Adam and Eve did not have any other sons until after Abel was murdered. So Abel could not have had any descendants who would want to kill Cain. Only after Abel’s death does it mention Adam knowing his wife intimately again and bearing a son who was named Seth. One would assume a husband and wife would have had plenty of time to have sex various times; so it seems odd it took so long for Adam to have sex with Eve again to birth Seth. No witnesses exist today who were there, so we cannot say Adam and Eve had sex or did not have sex until that length of time. But it is possible they did not. But what is more likely is that Adam and Eve did have abundant sex and most likely bore daughters or figured out some primitive method of birth control. If Adam and Eve did bear daughters, Cain could have had one as his wife, before he murdered Abel, and had children that would be upset he murdered their uncle.

        It is obviously though that Seth was born after the death of Abel and not before since it mentions in Genesis 4:25 that Seth replaced Abel. The passage of Seth’s birth was not isolated outside of chronological order. In some instances throughout the Bible passages are not in chronological order; but in the case of this story in Genesis it is obviously in chronological order that Seth was born after Abel died since it explicitly states that Seth replaced Abel who died previously.

        Another possibility is that Cain was thinking about the future that there will be more people born eventually who might grow up to kill him. He could have assumed Adam and Eve his, own parents, would kill him; or that they would have another son who would try and kill him eventually. Humans lived several hundred years during this time, and no one had died of natural causes or old age yet, so Cain probably did not think about dying himself except by a violent act, since the only death he knew about was the one he committed on his brother. So it is plausible Cain was preparing for the future that someone at some point would kill him.

       An even more plausible explanation of who would kill Cain is that Cain had had children before he murdered Abel, and for some reason Abel did not take a wife. Abel was younger than Cain. Some scholars claim Cain and Abel were twins, but there is no factual evidence to prove this. The only evidence would be that they are mentioned one after another without a mention of time passing. If Cain and Abel were twins they would be sexually mature at the same time and most likely both have wives around the same time. Why would Abel wait? But if Abel was much younger than Cain it makes more sense. It would be understandable how easy it would be for Cain to murder him without much of a fight if he was younger and smaller. Also it would explain why Abel did not take a wife yet. Cain was older and was sexually mature before Abel. Abel could have been too busy worshiping God instead of thinking about romance. Cain on the other hand had a very different personality and could have been preoccupied with romance and took a wife. To populate the earth Cain had to have one of his sisters as a wife. Incest did not exist and was not called sin yet since the genetic lines were so pure, and this was the only possible way to populate the earth. Only later was incest mentioned as a sin in the Old Testament by God, and for good reason, since it is a fact that incestual relationships cause many deformities and mental illnesses. Within a few generations the ability to marry more distant relatives was available until family ties were so far apart that it was easy to find someone not related in the sense of our idea of relatives today. This ability could have happened within a very few generations.

        The best explanation of why Cain feared people would kill him is that he had taken a wife, had children (since Genesis 4:17-22 does not state when exactly Cain had sexual relations with his wife, it could have been before he murdered Abel) who were old enough to understand he murdered his brother, and word would spread to everyone including future generations who would hunt Cain down and kill him eventually. He could have had sisters currently alive who would want to kill him, as well as fearing his own parents might want to kill him. Who knows what Cain’s irrational and selfish mind would assume. Also, no one was immune to sin especially his own parents who were the first sinners. He could have also been thinking that Adam and Eve would have more sons and daughters who would grow up and also possibly kill Cain. God prevented this from happening by declaring that if anyone would kill him, they would be punished seven times over. God then put a mark on Cain to signify that by God’s command Himself, no one is to harm Cain at all, or suffer that fate. This mark on Cain was some visible marking on his physical body. It could have been a special design somewhere people could see easily. Probably his face. Whatever that sign looked like the people of the time knew exactly what it meant. So Cain was not murdered and died eventually most likely by a natural cause. This was an act of God’s common mercy on all people, both wicked and righteous.

The Truth Is Not Popular

The Truth Is Not Popular

        The truth is not popular and never has been and this is especially true for the gospel truth message that the Bible teaches. The world hates holiness and wants to dwell in sin and pursue pleasure and protect their own pride. People who hear that they are sinners, or are doing something wrong do not want to admit it and will deny the truth that they are sinners and need a savior. Nobody wants to admit they are weak and unable to save themselves, and people do not want to admit they are bad, wrong, incorrect, sinful, or unholy.

        In our society today people want to believe God is on their side, and God is spirit that only cares about their interests and their desires. So many people mistakenly claim that God is for them and supports them. People are creating a god in their own image which is idolatry. Now days the climate of the culture says you must be tolerant of everything. Tolerance to them is not accepting people of beliefs you view as wrong, but the new tolerance has taken a new meaning that you must agree with them 100% or you are wrong. There is no room for contradictory ideas and you have to agree with them, and not only agree but also promote it and praise it as wonderful. Sexual sins like adultery or homosexuality and pornography or sex outside of marriage, drug abuse, any kinds of immorality, anything that gives pleasure and strikes the ego must be promoted and praised or else you will be labeled intolerant and other mean things. Fighting against immorality in oneself is increasingly harder in our age and denying sexual temptations or any other sins is hard to overcome when immorality is thrown in the Christian’s face over and over in every direction. This had led some people who believe they are Christians to live in sin and remain in it and have unchecked sins, because it is easier to just give in and enjoy sin and ignore guilt than to live in remorse from it and repent.

        So many churches today and their pastors do not teach the absolute truth and do not preach against personal sins and sins of the mind (lust, greed, envy etc.). Instead, pastors promote self esteem which only encourages a lazy attitude toward sin. It leads people who actually are not Christians to believe they are Christians and are going to heaven. True Christians are sanctified by Christ and set apart for holiness as God’s possession. The lives of true believers will always hold onto repentance when they sin and have faith God has forgiven them and the result will be fruits of righteousness. Read Mark 12:30, John 14:15 and 15:14, 1 John 2:6, 2 Chronicles 16:9 and a reoccurring theme that true believers follow God, obey Him, and live in morality instead of immorality. 1 john 1:9 also explains that if we confess our sins God is faithful and just to forgive all believers who seek to repent of sins. We can be confident we are saved. Struggling with sin is no joke and our society makes it hard, but there is still no excuse.

        Christians need to stand apart more than ever in this age and not fear those who harm our bodies, but only God who has the power to throw us into hell or save us into heaven in a relationship with Him.

        Preaching the truth of the gospel that humans are sinful and at war with God and must be punished for their transgressions is not popular, nor the idea that a loving Savior came to save them from this wrath. People do not want to admit they cannot save themselves by being good, or that they need a Savior to rescue them from hell. In fact, people do not want to admit that God is angry and hates sin and only want to believe God loves them no matter what. The truth is God loves people, wants to save them, but in His justice He must punish sin. The only way out is a substitutionary sacrifice (Jesus Christ on the cross).

       Another problem with truth people have in churches are matters of doctrine. People do not want to differentiate false doctrines from true doctrines. People want to avoid any kind of conflict or stance for absolute truth. This is a self righteous and false humility that has caused most of the church to be secular and unconcerned with true teaching. Whatever feels right is good to them, they have a sensual attitude toward truth. If it FEELS good it must be true. but pleasure or good feelings are not always true and nor are they happiness and in many cases pleasure and good vibes lead people to destruction. Drugs give extreme pleasure to the brain and body, sexual sin feels amazing to some people and they hunger for it, being proud and believing you are in control also feels good, but these attitudes are self destructive.

        Christians need to keep promoting unpopular truth, the actual gospel and the fact that sin is destroying people and a true believer takes a true stance and sides with God in all truth, actively pursues true teaching in the bible and wants to live holy for God’s glory. Repentance, faith, and fruits of righteousness mark the true Christian in this world. This is a very counter-cultural stance and hard for many to do.

Something To Think About…

Something To Think About…

        Every day you live is grace from God. The fact He does not kill you and punish you for your sin is God’s grace. Whatever circumstance you are in is God’s grace that you are alive. Persevere even though bad things happen and life seems to be going nowhere. God has a purpose for your situation. So seek His guidance and help, and don’t give up. Seek Heaven…