Saturday, November 28, 2015

"The Master is come, and calleth for thee" - Proofs of Christ Jesus being God

Mt. Fuji at dusk observed from around Tokyo

Proofs of Christ Jesus being God

The Quran was reportedly revealed to the founder of Islam by God through the angel Gabriel.

But, the Christian Bible contains the direct speech of Christ Jesus who is God.

In this context, which is holier?  Of course, indirect recording of speech by God cannot be more authentic than direct recording of words of God.  Therefore, we had better position the Christian Bible at the highest place in the study of religions.

However, if you do not admit that Christ Jesus was the Son of God or God Himself, you may think that the Bible is not so valuable as the Quran that records words of God though indirectly through the angel Gabriel and the founder of Islam.

So, the issue is whether or not Christ Jesus is the So of God or God Himself.  And, what are proofs that attest to the fact that Christ Jesus is the So of God or God Himself?  But it seems that there are no such proofs as should force Judaists and Muslims to admit that Christ Jesus is the Son of God or God Himself.

But they may be simply hidden though such proofs have not been clearly pointed at.  For 2000 years, any Popes, clergymen, priests, and other Christians have not been able to discover such proofs, though they have believed that Christ Jesus is God in their faith.

If the proofs that Christ Jesus is the Son of God and God Himself are presented so clearly that any persons should accept them, Judaist problems and Islamic problems will be resolved.

But, it might be more significant that for past 2000 years the Vatican and the Protestant camp has not been able to show such a proof.  It means that God wants mankind to believe that Christ Jesus is the Son of God and God Himself without a proof that should make any persons admit that Christ Jesus is the Son of God and God Himself.  Or it means that efforts for people to find the proof are crucial.  And God intends to reveal the truth only to those who have made enough efforts.

If somebody says to God that if He shows him a clear proof that Christ Jesus is the Son of God and God Himself, he would believe in Christ Jesus, God might say that only believers can see the proof.

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Joh 11:27 She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.
Joh 11:28 And when she had so said, she went her way, and called Mary her sister secretly, saying, The Master is come, and calleth for thee.

Friday, November 27, 2015

"a certain woman of the company lifted up her voice" - Heaven through the Kingdom of God


Heaven through the Kingdom of God

There are some people who admit that the God exists and He created the universe, including the sun and the earth, but do not believe that He would admit them into Heaven or from the beginning, they think, Heaven and the spiritual world do not exist.

They would claim that if they die, there would be nothing for them.  They think that when they die, their minds disappear and thus they would be lost forever.

In this context, it should be noted that Christ Jesus spoke on the premise of existence of Heaven.  He actually said that it was impossible for rich men to enter Heave, which means that good and poor men are admitted into Heaven.  After physical death, righteous men and women are given eternal life.  This is one issue of the crucial gist of the teaching of Christ Jesus.
And in this regard, Muslims today believe in the world after death more strongly than Europeans and Americans.  And, this is the key to understanding extreme Islamic terror.  The concept of Heaven is abused by terrorist leaders who use young Muslims for suicide bombing.

However, Christ Jesus presented another concept: the Kingdom of God.  According to Him, while we are alive in this world, the Kingdom of God could come to us, though we cannot see it with our eyes.  If we very honestly follow the teaching of Christ Jesus and the God, our states of minds must be changed so as to make ourselves feel the presence of the Kingdom of God while we are living in human society.  And, after death, our souls must proceed from the Kingdom of God to Heaven.

So, there are steps for us to follow from this world to Heaven through the Kingdom of God.  And, all through these steps, we have to follow the teaching of Christ Jesus and the God.  Otherwise, a bad and rich man who wants to enter Heaven should just ask the God to allow him to enter Heaven only because he believes power of the God, though without accumulating good deeds while he is alive.

It should go the same way with Muslims.  Some young Muslims just believing power of Allah may get desperate, hate Europeans and Americans, and join a terror group, thinking that they would enter Heaven after death, say, in suicide bombing.  But, they cannot enter Heaven as they don't follow required steps.  First, they have to enter the Islamic version of the Kingdom of God while they are living in this world.  

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Luk 11:27 And it came to pass, as he spake these things, a certain woman of the company lifted up her voice, and said unto him, Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the paps which thou hast sucked.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

"Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight" - Why Christianity Not for the Arabs

Tokyo Subway Station

Why Christianity Not for the Arabs

One of the largest mysteries in the history is the establishment of Islam.

Or how could not Christianity prevail in the Arabic world before the emergence of the founder of Islam? Or why did Christianity develop only in the territories of the Roman Empire after the Crucifixion of Christ Jesus?

It is well known that the original Gospels were written in Greeks but not in Arabic. As the Greek civilization had a strong influence on Romans, most of educated Roman citizens spoke Greek. And, the Gospels were written and edited on the assumption that Romans would read the newly issued holy books. They were not intended for the Arabs. Therefore, we may think that as the New Testament was written for Romans, Christianity did not prevail among the Arabs.

But, why did not any early believers of Christianity write a Gospel in Arabic or in languages that were prevailing in the Middle East in the first century?

(The Nag Hammadi Codices, old Christian documents discovered in Egypt after WWII, showed presence of Christians in Egypt in the 1st century, but they were mostly translated into Coptic from Greek.)

Judaists or Israelites must have been a special tribe in the Middle East 2000 years ago. And, Christ Jesus from Isrealites was killed by the Roman authority. These facts might not have aroused interest among the Arabs from the 1st century to the 7th century or from the emergence of Christianity to the establishment of Islam. It looked like that the good news that the Son of God appeared in Palestine 2000 years ago did not appeal to the Arabs at the time.  For the founder of Islam and other Arabs, it must be reasonable to think that another prophet named Jesus appeared among Israelites, a kind of relatives to them. 

So, the establishment and development of Christianity is conditioned by the fact that Israelites were under occupation by Romans who respected the Greek civilization around the 1st century. Christianity itself contains some factors closely related to the Greek and Roman civilizations from its beginning. It is as if this religion had not been intended for the Arabs.

However, it took 600 years that Islam was established after the establishment of Christianity in the first century. It must mean that God wanted Christians in the Roman Empire to make full efforts to propagandize Christianity to the Arabic world beyond the border of the Empire. Probably as they failed to diffuse Christianity among the Arabs for 600 years, God finally decided to endow the Arabs with Islam.

If so, Christianity already failed 1300 yeas ago when Islam was established in the Middle East. And, this is the deepest origin of today's Islamic problems, including terror by those who uphold the so-called extreme Islam.

If it had been Arabs or Persians, instead of Romans, that occupied Palestine 2000 years ago when Christ Jesus emerged, Christianity should have prevailed in the Middle East. Then, there should have been no need for the advent of Islam in the 7th century.

The history is indeed embodiment of the will of God. But, it is still thought that God originally expected that Christianity to prevail among the Arabs like among Romans, but as early Christians failed to contribute to this holy plan, God allowed the establishment of Islam. And still today, the world is under this historical condition.

Anyway, it is time to review the history and wonder why Christianity did not prevail in the Middle East like in Europe to set the basic ground for peace of even today.

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Mat 11:25 At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.
Mat 11:26 Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

"may forgive you your trespasses" - Who is behind Al Qaeda and IS?

Around Tokyo

Who is behind Al Qaeda and IS?

Everything seems to be so well proceeding for Israel.

After its crisis since the foundation of the nation Israel after WWII, Israel faced critical threats from surrounding Arab nations and Palestinians inside its territory till 1970s.

However, since the Iraq-Iran War fought from 1980 to 1988, Israel has been safe to date.

Especially, the 1991 Persian Gulf War and the War on Terror since 2001 removed a threat on Israel from Iraq.  And the recent internal conflicts and civil wars in Arabic nations around Israel have contributed to the enhancement of the national safety of Israel.

Of course, Israel has been attacked by terrorists in Palestine or damaged somewhat in intifada brought about by some Palestinians, but Israel has enjoyed relatively safe conditions.  Even Al Qaeda and IS terrorists have not declared the concentrated war on Israel.  They attacked Western cities, such as New York and Paris, but not Jerusalem.

For example, Saddam Hussein never threatened the West.  But he was removed by the US.  And, from Iraq after Saddam, IS terrorists emerged targeting Europeans and Americans.  The American interference in the Middle East has resulted in less threats to Israel but more threats to Europeans and Americans.

It can be regarded as a kind of indirect revenge by Judaists on Europeans and Americans for their negligence of duty to save six million Judaists from atrocity by Nazi Germans in WWII.

Of course, it cannot be simply said that extreme Islamic terrorists hate Europeans and Americans like Nazi Germans hated Judaists in and before WWII.  But, would Judaists in Israel feel any strong sense of duty to help Europeans and Americans, whose ancestors had not saved them from the Holocaust in WWII, from threats of extreme Islamic terrorists?

We cannot simply say that Judaists were playing any game behind the scene where Al Qaeda and IS are attacking Europeans and Americans.  But, everything seems to be proceeding in favor of Judaists since the the Iraq-Iran War fought from 1980 to 1988 to the on-going civil wars in Syria and Iraq.

Now, if those extreme Islamic terrorists should concentrate their forces on direct attacks on Israel to cause horrible bloody damage among Judaists, will the EU and the US do anything to save Israel?

Or is this a plan of God to save Israel by having extreme Islamic terrorists direct their violent acts to Europeans and Americans instead of Judaists?

Or rather is God simply using Al Qaeda and IS to punish Europeans and Americans for their ever-decreasing faith in God?

Anyway, we should think about who is behind Al Qaeda and IS, someytimes.

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Mar 11:25 And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

"that scattereth, and yet increaseth" - How Japanese Became Buddhists


How Japanese Became Buddhists

Roughly speaking, it was about 2000 years ago that Japan came to appear in the human history (written history).

In a Chinese official history book written in the 5th century, it is stated that the king of Na of Japan (then called Wa) sent an envoy to the Emperor of the later Hang dynasty who in return gave a gold seal to the king of Na in AD 57.  (This seal was actually found to have been buried in a small island of Kyusyu, the nearest major region in Japan to the Korean Peninsula, in 1784.)

It is noteworthy that Buddhism was brought into China about 2000 years ago, that is, roughly in the same period of Na's envoy being sent to China.

The next descriptions about Japan in Chinese official history books is about famous Yamatai kingdom and queen Himiko reported in a Chinese official book, the History of Wei, written in the late 3rd century. Queen Himiko practiced a kind of shamanism, according to the history book.  No influence of Buddhism in Japan was reported.  Queen Himiko, one of the most mysterious figures in the Japanese history to date, died around 248.  It is still not known whether or not Himiko was one of ancestors of the Imperial Family of Japan.

It is now widely believed that Buddhism was brought into Japan in 538 from a kingdom in the Korean Peninsula.  But, there was a division of opinion among powerful people around the then Japanese imperial court, called the Yamato court, as to whether the court should accept Buddhism.  Through some conflicts, finally the camp of major clans and noblemen who wanted to introduce Buddhism into the Yamato court won.  One famous figure who contributed to the first official introduction of Buddhism into Japan was Prince Shotoku.  He is known as the founder of the (original) Horyuji Temple in Nara (a region where ancient capitals of Japan were mainly placed).

So, Buddhism was introduced into Japan by the imperial court taking an initiative.  Successive emperors became believers of, or protected, Buddhism, though they practiced the original religion called Sinto, most probably the extension of shamanism   For example, Emperor Shomu (701-756) built one Buddhist temple in each province. The number of these imperial Buddhist temples (called Kokubuji) is believed to be about 60.  The main temple placed above these Kokubuji temples was Todaiji of Nara, that was well known for its Great Buddha Hall with the world's largest bronze statue of the Buddha.

So, for 500 years after the introduction of Buddhism into Japan around 500, this religion was mostly respected as a new teaching brought into Japan from culturally advanced regions, namely India, China, and part of the Korean Peninsula.  For noblemen of the imperial court in Yamato (presently Nara Prefecture) and then Kyoto, Buddhism is an advanced teaching that could enhance their status, thus making it easier to acquire respect and obedience from farmers and other common people.  In other word, Buddhism in Japan in these periods was not intended to save farmers and common people but to contribute to the ruling by the imperial court, noblemen, and local elite families.

It was at the end of the era of the rule by noblemen in the imperial court of Kyoto, called the Heian Era, that such Buddhist monks came to appear as would in earnest try to save common poor people.  So, Honen (1133-1212) started to teach that for people to be saved through believing in Buddhism, there was no need to learn difficult Buddhist creeds, written in Chinese, and to be engaged in hard discipline, which were impossible for farmers and common people.  Honen taught that only if one recited Namu Amida Butsu, his soul would be saved, since Namu Amida Butsu meant "I have become a believer of Amida Buddah.(a celestial buddha described in the scriptures of Mahāyāna Buddhism)."

This is a revolutionary way of teaching.  It is as if one would be taught that if one wanted to be saved through believing in Christianity, one should recite I Believe in Christ without reading the Old and New Testaments or practicing any Christian discipline.

So, it took more than 500 years for Buddhism to become a religion for ordinary or poor common Japanese since the religion was first introduced into Japan around 538.

And, after Honen, various new leaders appeared in the Buddhist sector in Japan from the 12th century to the 13th century, who tried to diffuse the religion among the general public not only among noblemen and local influential families.  And, the era of Japan changed from the era of the rule by noblemen to the era of the rule by samurais.  This new era is called the Kamukura Period, since those samurais who took over political power from the imperial court in Kyoto established their capital in Kamukura, 400 km east of Kyoto.

And, this Kamakura Period of Japan (1185-1333) roughly matches the Era of the Crusaders in Europe (1096-1436).  The Crusaders first exalted authority of the Vatican.  But, the final failure in establishing the permanent territorial occupation in Jerusalem led to disenchantment with the Vatican.  It cultivated the religious sense and awareness among ordinary Europeans in addition to interest in trade with the East.  The movement to the Renaissance and the Protestant Revolution started after the Era of the Crusaders in Europe.

In Japan, with the success of the samurai rule in the Kamukura Period, the subsequent periods of Japan were all the eras of samurais but not of noblemen in the imperial court in Kyoto.  Along with samurais, merchants in Japan also started to take key roles in economy.  This movement reached its summit in the Tokugawa Period when the Tokugawa shogun governed Japan as the head of the samurai class, though the Tokugawa regime closed the nation for more than 200 years.  In this Period Japan could enrich its culture so that it could well absorb Western culture and civilization when it opened the nation to the world in the middle of the 19th century.

However, 1000 years after the introduction of Buddhism into Japan, Christianity was brought into the country by European Catholics.  As an extension of European activities in the Age of Geographical Discovery, Francis Xavier came to Japan to propagandize Catholicism in 1549.  After Xavier, scores of Christian missionaries came to Japan till the early 17th century.  But, the then samurai rulers of Japan found political influences of Portugal and Spain behind those Christian missionaries.  And, Japanese samurais and farmers who believed in Catholicism looked like denying the authority of samurai leaders.  Furthermore, Christianity looked like gaining great popularity in the general public since Xavier came to Japan.  So, the Tokugawa shogun, who led whole Japan at the time felt a kind of threat in the religious power of Christianity, banned Christianity and closed the nation to prevent European Christian missionaries from coming into Japan in 1639.

Meanwhile, in the Tokugawa Period (1603-1868), every Japanese citizen was forced to belong to a Buddhist temple.  Birth and death of every man or woman were registered in a Buddhist temple that existed in his or her village or town.  Samurai rulers, including Tokugawa shogun in the capital Edo (presently Tokyo) and local samurai feudal lords, governed people though the Buddhist temple system.  Accordingly, Buddhism became a kind of daily matters for everyone in Japan though most of people did not read Buddhist scriptures written in classical Chinese.  I this Period, children learnt easy versions of various Buddhist teachings, in addition to Confucius teachings, in schools established in temples whose main function was to teach children how to read and write and calculate.  In this context, today's Japanese, almost all descendants of farmers, merchants, or samurais of the Tokugawa (Edo) Period can be regarded as Buddhists.

Before Buddhism, a kind of shamanism was practiced in Japan though ancient Japan had some diplomatic ties with China where Buddhism was introduced at almost the same time Christ Jesus started his mission around Jerusalem.  And then, around 500, Japan introduced Buddhism considering the religions would contribute to enhancement of Japan's status since Buddhism was practiced in China, the then culturally advanced empire.  After 1000, there appeared movements among Japanese monks to apply Buddhism to the general public, including farmers and local people.  Japanese unique schools of Buddhism were established.  And after 1500, facing the influx of Catholicism that looked like making Japanese believers rebellious against the samurai authority, the samurai regime closed the nation to prevent influences of the Vatican.  And, during the period of closing the nation, Japanese people were closely linked to Buddhist temples by the samurai regime.  However, the Meiji Restoration carried out around 1867 abolished samurai rule in Japan and paved the way for modernization and Westernization.  Freedom of religion was assured.  Japanese Christians came not to be punished by the Meiji Government.  However, a great majority of the Japanese people have continued to accept Buddhist ways of rituals, including funerals, and they visit Buddhist temples on special occasions such as the year-end/new-year holidays.

So, without specific sense to Buddhism and consciousness of their being Buddhists, Japanese are mostly Buddhists if they don't think they are Christians, though they respect Shinto as they respect their ancestors.

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Pro 11:23 The desire of the righteous is only good: but the expectation of the wicked is wrath.
Pro 11:24 There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth; and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to poverty.
Pro 11:25 The liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that watereth shall be watered also himself.

Monday, November 23, 2015

"shalt be brought down to hell" - Cursed Cities


Cursed Cities

Almost every major city in the West has suffered terror as if it had been so cursed by Christ Jesus.

Tokyo: the 1995 Aum Shinrikyo cult's sarin gas attack on subway lines.
New York: the 2001 9/11 terror attacks by AlQaeda.
London: the 2005 terror on July 7 by AlQaeda.
Paris: the 2015 terror by ISIS.

Then, Berlin, Rome, and Ottawa might be attacked by terrorists sooner or later.

Anyway it is true that Christ Jesus cursed some cities, according to the Bible.

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Mat 11:22 But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you.
Mat 11:23 And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.
Mat 11:24 But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

"Have faith in God" - Contribution of the Islamic World to Europe

Ginza, Tokyo

Contribution of the Islamic World to Europe

The ancient Greece civilization produced so many cultural products with philosophers.  Subsequently ancient Romans learnt and maintained the ancient Greek civilization.  However, Judaists were not under the Greek Civilization.  Though individually some of them might be interested in Greek philosophy especially after the fall of Jerusalem in the first century, Judaists did not bring Greek philosophy into their religion Judaism.

Nonetheless, the Roman Empire was destroyed through wars against invaders from the north and the east of Italy in the late 5th century.  And, Greek civilization was not transferred to those who occupied Italy and Europe after the Roman Empire.

The Roman Empire was supported by the two factors: pragmatic administrative and militaristic systems of the Roman Empire and the culture it inherited from ancient Greece.  After the fall of the Roman Empire, no tribes inherited these two factors.  The Middle Ages of Europe after the fall of the Roman Empire were not featured, especially, by great adoption and application of the Greek civilization.

Then Islam was established in the middle of the 7th century.  Interestingly, Muslims learnt and maintained some cultural products of the Greek civilization.  Many ancient Greek books were translated into Arabic.

Then, some cities in Italy recovered from the dark era after the fall of the Roman Empire.  They started to expand their economic activities in the Mediterranean Sea and trade with Arabs.  Those Italians found ancient Greek books were well translated into Arabic.  They rediscovered ancient Greek civilization through their trade with Muslims.  Then, the Renaissance started in Italy in the 14th century, putting an end to the Middle Ages.  This movement of rediscovering ancient Roman and Greek civilization was propagated from Italy to the north of the Alps.

Since then, Europe was featured by two elements: Christianity and traditions of ancient Greek civilization.  This condition has continued through the Industrial Revolution to the 21st century Europe.  The philosophy of ancient Greek has become the great underlying basis of the modern science.  Christianity has become the principle that has enabled the establishment of the modern social structure and the mind sets of people.  Consequently Europe, especially, West Europe and its extension America have led the world culturally, economically, scientifically, and militarily.

In this context, the role of Islam is apparent even from a viewpoint of the history and the development of Europe.

After the fall of the Roman Empire, influences and traditions of the Greek Civilization was cut off for Europeans who came to be independent of the Roman Empire.  It might be partly because the Vatican was not so eager to carry the influence and tradition like the Roman Empire.  So, in the Middle Ages in Europe under strong control of the Vatican, most of books written by ancient Greek philosophers were forgotten.

But, Arabs had inherited some key works of ancient Greek philosophers.  Their Islamic empires respected those works.  And, when Italians imported those works created by ancient Greeks and translated by Arabs before or in the 14th century, the Renaissance started.

Therefore, the Islamic world has been indispensable contributors to the success of modern Europe since the Renaissance.

Put simply, without Islam, Europe and American today probably cannot enjoy so much success.

From this point of view, it is very grave that those terrorists who today show so much antagonism to Europe and America call themselves Muslims.  It might suggest that Europeans have not shown enough gratitude to the Islamic world.

Indeed it was the Islamic or Arabic world that inherited and preserved great works of ancient Greek philosophers after the fall of the (West) Roman Empire in the late 5th century to hand them to Europeans before the Renaissance in the 14th century, since Islam was established in the 7th century in the east of the Mediterranean Sea, expanding to Persia that had once.fought ancient Greece.    

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Mar 11:22 And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God.