Why do people trust the truth so little that they feel the need to distort the facts in order to “win” a case or promote their agenda? Case in point is Toynbee’s broadside entitled “This Christmas, beware evangelical Christians bearing gifts”. Admittedly the headline was quite intriguing but the argument was frustratingly flimsy.
Firstly, why does it matter that Samaritan’s Purse has a monthly income of £16 million? Don’t you think every single penny is being used to promote the charity’s aims and objectives? Oxfam, recently rocked by a child abuse scandal, still managed to accrue a monthly income of £34.5 million (2017).
Secondly, wouldn’t Christians be abject hypocrites if we just doled out goodies and said nothing about our reason for doing so? We believe our Lord Jesus Christ’s ultimate act of grace — leaving the glories of heaven to enter the cesspit of earth for the sake of our salvation — is the greatest possible motivation for any human being to show love. In fact, why should humanists even bother to be charitable if they believe this life, so scarred by suffering, irrationality and unfairness, is all there is?
As we know the source of grace and truth, we are obligated and motivated to share this treasure. There’s no point in talking about love without also displaying kindness. Individuals and communities have physical and spiritual needs — Samaritan’s Purse aims to meet both, but recognises that what makes Christian charity unique is Christ Jesus the One who created us to care.
Thirdly, why would we not send boxes to the most needy people who, yes, live in Muslim countries? The sad fact is the West is woefully under-informed about Islam — please take time to read-up on what the Koran actually says and how this directly influences the beliefs and behaviours of millions.
For example, although Muhammad did not envisage modern terrorism, some of his instructions and actions can be used to justify such. For example, Q 8:12: I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieved, so strike [them] upon the necks and strike from them every fingertip.
Islamic tradition (namely the hadith, which is said to record Muhammad’s sayings) also justifies spreading fear: “I have been made victorious with terror.”(Bukhari 4.52.220)
Now listen to Jesus: “love your enemies” and “pray for those who persecute you” — statements found nowhere in the teaching of Islam. Jesus never killed anyone, and criticised Peter for taking up a sword in his defence. Instead of killing and maiming, the Messiah healed people and even raised some from the dead.
Truthfully, we do a grave disservice if we only pack a shoebox, or send-off a tenner for “Children in Need”. Surely, everyone deserves to know the reason for the hope that we have.
In following-up Toynbee’s hyperlinks, I noted that the origins of this article seem to be from a website, “Wales Online“. You can see again the misrepresentation: the author claims to present the case “for and against”, implying a degree of objectivity, but nearly every point is very much antagonistic, concluding with a link for a letter template to write to schools demanding they reconsider their support of Samaritan’s Purse. What a travesty. “Bah humbug” Scrooge would be proud of such efforts but who does the Humanist Society’s invective really help?
Rather than the legal eagle who walked by on the other side of the road, I’d rather be the Samaritan, getting stuck in to assist the man badly injured at the side of the road and share the Good News of great joy.