often find myself repeating Solomon's wisdom concerning the wickedness of mankind:
Ecclesiastes 1:9-10: 9 That which has been is that which will be, And that which has been done is that which will be done. So there is nothing new under the sun. 10 Is there anything of which one might say, “See this, it is new”? Already it has existed for ages which were before us."
This world, along with fallen humanity itself, yields nothing that is ever substantially new. Based upon this truth, I no longer look at anything in the present day as a novelty, rather I see the innovations of modern man as being nothing more than a tired-out rehashing of humanity's longstanding devotion to sin, corruption, and all that is deemed as useless in the eyes of almighty God. Thus, whenever men craft a "new" philosophy or a "new" religion, we can be sure that such a "new" thing "already has existed for ages which were before us." This principle is most often seen in the generational rehashings of man-made religion. At the most fundamental level, all man-made religions share the common thread of rejecting biblical Christianity. This is most often evidenced by means of direct denials of Christ's deity, His crucifixion, and His exclusivity as the only Savior of mankind. However, for the scores of people who don't even understand such doctrinal matters regarding the person and work of Jesus Christ, they should still be able to see obvious differences between the false religions of this world and the genuine article of Christianity. The differences of which I speak are that of hatred versus love. There are many false religions of the modern day which show their true colors by means of the hatred that they have for their critics and defectors. Uniquely, it is the Christian who loves his enemies - even those who persecute, mock and criticize them (Matt. 5:43-48); and yet we don't have to go very far to find examples of false religionists who are eager to persecute, mock, and hate their opponents. We have recently seen the barrage of hate supplied by the disciples of Muhammed who will gladly "behead those who insult Islam." The westernized version of this doctrine is seen in the form of the countless lawsuits leveled against anyone who dares to question the actions and teachings of Islam. In America, we have litigious hatred that is expressed by Islamic groups like C.A.I.R., and Canada is getting a taste of this same vehemence via the Alberta Human Rights Commission vs. Ezra Levant here. Needless to say, these westernized followers of Muhammed are not the only perpetuators of litigious violence. Consider, for example, the "doctrine" of L. Ron Hubbard who taught his followers that the detractors of Scientology should be met with vengeance:
SP Order. Fair game. May be deprived of property or injured by any means by any Scientologist without any discipline of the Scientologist. May be tricked, sued or lied to or destroyed. [HUBBARD COMMUNICATIONS OFFICE, Saint Hill Manor, East Grinstead, Sussex Remimeo. HCO Policy Letter of 18 October 1967, Issue IV]
"SP" stands for "Suppressive Person" - i.e., any critic of Scientology. The evidences of this hateful policy are here with us today, as in the case of the BBC program, Panorama - Scientology and Me:
Despite the ugliness of what takes place in the program produced by BBC's Panorama, it should be noted that such abuse is quite mild in comparison to the vast lineup of people who have been harassed, persecuted, and even sued by the "church" of Scientology. The many testimonies of these victims stand as the stark evidence of Hubbard's "Fair Game" doctrine of hatred and retribution; and while the church of Scientology's doctrine of vengeance does not explicitly include the beheading of "SP's," we should still remember that such retributive policies are only a few degrees away from the ancient and violent standards of Mohammedanism. In the end, these religions unveil a common essence of hatred:
James 1:20: ...the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.
All of this I offer to the reader for two important reasons:
1. For Christians - let this be a reminder to us about what it means to imitate the Lord our God. Being salt and light in this world means imitating our Heavenly Father who "causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous" (Matt. 5:45). It is not for us to take vengeance on our critics, but instead we are called to obey Christ who said: “...love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you" (Matt. 5:44). We are called to more than just speaking the Gospel - we are called to live it in the presence of men.
2. For non-Christians - please read #1 above (if you haven't already). Do know that you will meet many people in your life who name the name of Christ, but seem to serve a religion of hatred rather than of love. When such experiences come your way, recall to mind the words of Christ above and remember that Hell will be filled with such false pretenders (Matt. 7:21-23). People who walk perpetually in hatred and vengeance are not serving Christ - so do not be deceived. But do know this - the Gospel's message of grace and mercy is coming to an end; and it will come to an end when Christ returns to judge the living and the dead. This is why the Christian does not exact vengeance upon the critics of Christ, for only Christ has been given the prerogative of such judgment (John 5:26-27, Revelation 6:12-17); and when His judgment comes, God's Gospel of grace and mercy, in Christ alone, will end. So do not be deceived. God's patience is indeed great, but it will not endure forever.
Christianity is the one unique gem which sits atop the dark backdrop of man-made religion. It glistens with brilliance in contrast to the lightless void which surrounds it, therefore the religious harbingers of hatred are quite evident, revealing the clear differences between the children of God and the children of the Devil [1 John 3:10-13]. In many respects, those who believe that vengeance is their prerogative are in fact looking to take the place of God Himself. Let no one be deceived - this is nothing less than human pride, arrogance, and blasphemy - the very worn-out things that have been around since the fall of mankind.
Indeed, nothing is new...
Update: I would also recommend the following video which surveys Hubbard's life. Frankly speaking it is an interesting illustration of how men will gladly believe a lie rather than believe the truth. Hubbard seemed to understand this principle and he exploited it to the fullest measure. Ultimately, L. Ron Hubbard was nothing more than a science-fiction writer - from his beginning and to his bitter end: