Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Far more privileged than I realize..

     There are a lot of books out there and many of them are not worth reading.
     And, of course, there are a lot more programs out there that are not worth listening to or watching.
     But it's always been my choice as to what I watch or listen to or read.  Apparently I am far more privileged than  I realize.
     Last week, I learned  that Iranian police are now having to go into homes to hunt for.. not drugs or weapons but ... satellite dishes.  They've already confiscated satellite dishes on the outside of apartments and now they are doing legal search and seizures for ones inside apartments.  Like I'm wondering how well that would go over here in the U.S.???
    Why did the Iranian government just pass a law prohibiting inside satellite dishes?  Apparently many Iranians are becoming followers of Christ via satellite television programs.  I guess the government's reasoning is that if they can't keep people from turning to Christ, they can cut off their source of information about Him.
   They can't, of course.
   But they can make things more difficult.
   To my mind, it seems that the government is running scared.. of a television program? Or maybe to be more precise, of a book....
   And that's sad.
   However, there is another side to this issue.  In Ancient Rome, when Christians were being hunted and persecuted by the authorities, Tertullian wrote: "the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church", meaning that the more the Christians were persecuted, the more Christianity grew.   In modern times, a Russian communist, Yaroslavsky, complained  that Christianity is like a nail, adding: "The harder you strike it, the deeper it goes."   When I was doing graduate work at the University of Arkansas in the 1980's, my professor on China and Russia told us flat out  that there were no Christians in China, absolutely none at all... He went on to emphasize that there were a few believers  in Russia but zilch in the land of Chairman Mao.  We now know that at the very time when my professor was announcing that Christianity had been eradicated in China, there were actually thousands of believers in that repressive country.
     Maybe the biggest problem with the current  Iranian government is not the fact that they are frightened by a book, but that they are ignorant of history.
    There is something deep within man, placed there by God Himself, that makes human beings want to search for Him.  And every government has the responsibility to see that their citizens have the freedom to do that. Ironically, it seems the more repressive a government is, the better freedom looks to its citizens. And whenever the search for freedom and truth comes up, sooner or later the seeker comes across this quote: "and you will know the truth and the truth will set you free."  The one who made that promise is Christ. (John 8:32)
     And that's why Iranians are turning to Him and that's why removing satellite dishes may slow the process but it won't stop it.

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