CONTENDING FOR THE FAITH
Russian mercenaries martyred by ISIS after refusing to recant Christian faith
October 10, 2017 — ChristianToday.com reports: “Two Russian mercenaries are believed to have been killed by ISIS after refusing to recant their faith and become Muslim.
Roman Zabolotny, 39, and Grigory Tsurkanu, 38, were thought to be fighting for a private Russian mercenary force in Syria. They appeared in a video released earlier this week by ISIS’ news outlet Amak after being captured by militants. The Russian Orthodox Church has declared them to be martyrs, according to Aleteia.
Senior Russian MP Viktor Vodolatsky said he was 99 per cent sure the men were dead.
‘Before filming that video they were given a statement which they had to read,’ he added according to the Mail Online.
‘In this text they would reject their Orthodox religion, reject their motherland, become Muslim and join ISIS.
‘They stayed loyal to the Orthodox faith and their Motherland until the very end, and this is what they were killed by those gangsters for.’
It was previously reported that Zabolotny was a devout Orthodox believer and went to Syria in order to protect Christians from terrorists, according to the Mail Online…” (“Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works” – Matthew 16:24 – 27. Revelation 2:10 promises: “Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.”)
Mass grave with 21 Coptic Christians’ beheaded bodies found in Libya
October 9, 2017 — ChristianToday.com reports: “A mass grave with the bodies of 21 Coptic Christians beheaded in Libya has been found, according to the country’s interior ministry.
A former ISIS captive revealed the location near the one-time Islamic State bastion of Sirte, 280 miles east of Tripoli.
‘The heads are separated from the bodies clad in orange jumpsuits, hands bound behind the back with plastic wire,’ the ministry’s unit for fighting organised crime in the city of Misurata, according to Agence France Presse.
The Coptic Christians were captured in separate incidents throughout December 2014 and January 2015 before releasing a video of their execution on a beach on February 15, 2015.
The iconic image of the 21 men in orange jumpsuits on a beach caused shockwaves around the world but Bishop Angaelos, general bishop of the UK Coptic Church, told Christian Today a year after the killings that forgiveness and strength had trumped the video’s attempt to instill fear and hatred.
He said: ‘The same tool used to try and magnify violence and division actually became a platform for everyone to see the strength of their faith.’…” (“Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you” – Matthew 5:10 – 12. “And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled” – Revelation 6:9-11. Again, rest upon the promise of Revelation 2:10: “Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.”)
Report: 75% of Victims of Religious Persecution Are Christians
October 17, 2017 — Breitbart.com reports: “A grim new report on Christian persecution around the globe suggests that rather than improving, the situation of Christians worldwide is worsening, a fact whitewashed by mainstream media.
‘Christians are the victims of at least 75 percent of all religiously-motivated violence and oppression,’ declares the 2015-2017 report from Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), and moreover ‘the extent of this persecution is largely ignored by our media.’
In their report titled ‘Persecuted and Forgotten?’, ACN noted that in Iraq more than half of the country’s Christian population have become internal refugees, while in the Syrian city of Aleppo, the Christian population has fallen by more than 75 percent. Up until 2011 Aleppo was home to the largest Christian community but in just 6 years numbers have dropped from 150,000 to just over 35,000.
‘In terms of the number of people involved, the gravity of the crimes committed and their impact, it is clear that the persecution of Christians is today worse than at any time in history,’ said John Pontifex, the Report’s editor.
In the 13 countries where Christians suffer the most intense persecution, the situation has worsened in all but one—Saudi Arabia—in the last two years, and conditions there have stayed the same…” (Persecuted? Yes. Forgotten? No! “And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him. Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God? But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows. Also I say unto you, Whosoever shall confess me before men, him shall the Son of man also confess before the angels of God: … “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also” – John 15:18 – 20.)
Collective consciousness to replace God – author Dan Brown
October 13, 2017 — Reuters reports: “Humanity no longer needs God but may with the help of artificial intelligence develop a new form of collective consciousness that fulfils the role of religion, U.S. author Dan Brown said on Thursday.
Brown made the provocative remark at the Frankfurt Book Fair where he was promoting his new novel, ‘Origin’, the fifth outing for Harvard ‘symbology’ professor Robert Langdon, the protagonist of ‘The Da Vinci Code’, a book that questioned the history of Christianity.
‘Origin’ was inspired by the question ‘Will God survive science?’ said Brown, adding that this had never happened in the history of humanity.
‘Are we naive today to believe that the gods of the present will survive and be here in a hundred years?’ Brown, 53, told a packed news conference…
He recognized that his views may not be welcomed by clerics, but called for greater harmony between the world’s great religions and those who profess no faith.
‘Christianity, Judaism and Islam all share a gospel, loosely, and it’s important that we all realize that,’ he said. ‘Our religions are much more similar than they are different.’
Turning to the future, Brown said technological change and the development of artificial intelligence would transform the concept of the divine.
‘We will start to find our spiritual experiences through our interconnections with each other,’ he said, forecasting the emergence of ‘some form of global consciousness that we perceive and that becomes our divine’…” (Dan Brown has joined Friedrich Nietzsche in announcing the death of God by stating “God cannot survive science.” Nietzsche believed that the “idea” of God was no longer necessary; in fact, God was irrelevant because man was evolving to a place where he could create a deeper and more satisfying “master morality” of his own. Psalm 14:1-3 addresses such thoughts: “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good. The Lord looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God. They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one.” Psalm 19:1 – 4 adds: “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard. Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun,” See the next report.)
Former Google Employee Engineering His Own A.I. Religion
September 29, 2017 — Breitbart.com reports: “Former Google engineer Anthony Levandowski is emerging from the shadow of a self-driving lawsuit to create a robot god.
The present continues to take inspiration from science-fiction author Isaac Asimov’s visions of the future. In ‘The Last Question,’ Asimov conceived of an artificial intelligence project known as Multivac. Its purpose was to solve for the inevitable heat death of the universe, but in the end, it becomes that answer.
Levandowski seems to have taken that story very closely to heart. His newly founded Way of the Future organization, whose filings were first uncovered by Wired, exists to ‘develop and promote the realization of a Godhead based on artificial intelligence and through understanding and worship of the Godhead contribute to the betterment of society.’
Yes, you read that right. To quote Wired’s Mark Harris, ‘God is a bot, and Anthony Levandowski is his messenger.’ At least, that is the plan…”