I am a modern man in most respects, and wish to continue being that. I am pro- a gender equal society, and cook food like the salmon dish with garlic and apples in the first photo above, and which I made yesterday evening for example. I feel ashamed of vile phenomena such as wife battering, hatred of women on and off Internet and when reactionary religious or secular groups try to oppose gender equality. Just a couple of weeks ago I felt ashamed when the Swedish Christian Democrats voted against gender equality in the EU Parliament, and the Conservative Moderate Party refused to vote in order to help Swedish women, and women in other parts of the world too. For me as a Swedish social liberal Christian, in a modern world it ought to have been quite differently. In September or October I wrote on this weblog a text called “Different kinds of Swedish identities” where I described my own identity and the national history until today with its various identifications. I have friends both here and there, believers and non-believers, Christians, Jews, Muslims and others. For me it is important to try and see the fellow human being, the brother, sister, friend, lover in various kinds of people irrespective of background. On this weblog I time and again try to work for peace and co-operation within Sweden and cross the borders. We all share a common African origin way back in time, a common human history traced back through our mitocondrial DNA. I try to remind us all of that over and over again because of the conflicts in the world. Jesus said: “You have heard that it has been said, you shall love your neighbour, and hate your enemy. But I say to you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you that you may be the children of your Father which is in Heaven”…”And if you salute your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the publicans do? Be you therfore perfect, even as your Father which is in Heaven is perfect”, (Matthew, 5: 43-45, 47-48).
Jesus was a Jew, among other Jews, talking with and teaching other Jews in Israel, even though not all understood his message. He talked about the good Samaritan, a group despised as alien by ordinary Jews in Israel and Judah back then, despite the fact that they were related. Jesus saved a woman who had commited adultery from being stoned by a mob and said: “The one who’s without a sin may throw the first stone”. His favourite disciple was Mary Magdalene, a woman whom he loved and who understood his teachings better than the men around him. Prejudice and hate, hatred of women, hate against those who do not think or believe just like yourself has always been a problem through history, even today.
Last weekend Nazis clashed with people who oppose the vile way of percieving humanity and Swedishness that Nazi ideology have. This happened in Kärrtorp outside Stockholm, and the Swedish society is harshly divided. What is also very worrying and sad is how Christians and Jews are treated in Sweden and around the world today. Christians are persecuted and killed in ca 130 countries around the world. In China and North Korea Christians are harrassed by the Communist régimes, but the most severe situation we see in the Middle East and Africa, in Muslim countries such as Syria, Egypt, Sudan and Nigeria. During 2013 about 105 000 Christians have been killed globally simply because they are Christians. Right now every fifth minute a Christian is murdered, 12 people each hour, 287 Christian lives per day, and it’s 365 days on a year. In Egypt and Syria Christians are being raped, kidnapped and killed on a scale we never have seen before. The Arab Spring has turned into the Autumn of Death for Christians and Jews alike. 100 years ago 20% of the population in the Middle East were Christians, today only five percent. Just a few years ago there were 80 000 Christians in the city of Homs, Syria. In October 2012 they had all been murdered. The Middle East is the origin of both Judaism and Christianity and must both survive. Christians and Jews are driven from their homes, the few Christians from the Middle East, be it Copts from Egypt, Catholics, Syrian Christians, Ethiopian Christians and others flee to Europe and the USA. Jews flee to Israel. Christian Copts and Jews in Egypt must pay Jizya, an extra infidel tax ordered by the Muslim Brotherhood. More than 100 churches, monasteries and nunneries have been burned in Egypt. There have been groups of Muslims who have tried to protect churches and Christians in Egypt, that must be said, and not all are extremists. As in all parts of the world there are all kinds of people and many are sensible and try to avoid persecutions, annihilations and genocides. Some intermarry between the religious groups, and love is always preferable from hate. Acceptance for what we have in common, but also acceptance for our differences. This genocide and persecution of Christians and Jews is neglected by fellow-Christians in the West, which is a great shame. The Swedish church is no exception. Judaism and Christianity is sneered at, while both religions have affected our world and our culture for 2000 years.
I personally love to see co-operations and acceptance over the religious, political and ethnic borders, and detest all kinds of persecutions. In the beginning of 2013 I was for instance asked by people in Pakistan via Twitter to help them stop the hatred between the groups in their country, the genocide of Shia Muslims by Sunni Muslims, which I tried to do, but also the persecution of other non-Muslim groups in Pakistan. Still…If a Muslim convert to Christianity he or she is punished with death in countries like Iran, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Sudan and Yemen. If you convert it must come from the heart. Conversion by threats and intimidation into any religion or any other secular ideology is false and can’t be valid. In the summer of 2012 I was asked by a Muslim woman if I could accept to become a Muslim, and I naturally said no, since I am a Christian. Two weeks ago I got the question again, but this time more pushy and determined by a young man. Forced conversions have been performed in most religions through history, and is nothing new under the sun. However, we must follow our hearts, but conversion through threats, genocide and persecution of people are never ever acceptable, even if humanity is cruel to each other. Most likely it was the same also 7000 years ago when groups of people met, and who had different beliefs. Still we must remember that we are ONE human species, Homo Sapiens, independent of religion, skin colour or ethnic background, ONE humanity on ONE Earth which we must take care of. According to the UN we have something called R2P (Responsibility to Protect), that ought to be valid for Christians and Jews too. If we begin a World War III, a new war between religions or ideologies there will be no winners, be assured of that. Our humanity is too fragile and too self-destructive. Moreover there are good people and constructiveness in all people independent of background. We must not take our humanity and our world into self-annihilation.
Jesus from Nazareth also predicted the continous hatred between people. He said: “You suppose that I have come to give peace on Earth? I tell you, Nay, but rather division. For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three.” (Luke: 12:51-52).
One mysterious relic is the shroud of Turin. It’s 4,4 * 1,1 metres big. It is a burial cloth showing signs of a bearded man who has been beaten, flogged, has a wound from a spear in his chest, signs of sticky wounds on his forehead, and blood from wounds on his wrists and feet. The shroud of Turin is said to be the burial cloth of Jesus Christ. A burial cloth which according to some historians might have been the same shroud that came from Israel, arrived at the court of the Byzantine emperor in today’s Istanbul, but disappeared during the sack of Constantinople/Istanbul in 1204. Then a mysterious cloth appeared in France in 1353. Was it the burial cloth of Jesus Christ? Some said yes, some said no. That cloth was damaged in a fire which broke out in the Chapel of Chambery, France in 1532. Nuns added new woven material in the burned corners.
Eventually the cloth ended up in Turin, Italy, and on May 28th 1898 the Italian amateur photographer Secondo Pia took a first photo of the shroud, and noticed that in negative the picture of the man became even clearer. Pia was disregarded, but in 1931 another photographer, Giuseppe Enrie, made the same discovery. The shroud of Turin was investigated by a team of scientists in the 1970’s and 1980’s. The amazing thing is that the picture of the man on the cloth is somehow in 3D-dimensions, burned into the cloth in a way that the scientists couldn’t understand. Recent tests have shown that the picture has been scorched in by some sudden lightning consisting 34 trillion Watt of ultra-violet light. Parts of the cloth were taken from the corners and analyzed and proven to be Medieval, ca 1200 – 1550. However, in 2002 -2013 new discoveries were made which showed that the parts analyzed had been restored later additions after the fire. After another scrutiny there were new discoveries: biologic remnants of certain flowers, what type of cloth, how it has been woven compared to textiles from various periods in history. You might read more about it on the Internet. For example this link: http://www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shroud_of_Turin. In 2012 historian Thomas de Wesselow stated that he saw the shroud of Turin as genuine in his book The Sign. Now in 2013 Giulio Fanti and Saverio Gaeta stated in their research that the shroud might be dated 280 BCE – 220 A.D. Ergo the shroud could very likely be the cloth that Jesus from Nazareth was wrapped in. Another intriguing detail could be the remnants on the cloth which shows that the man buried in it has had a crown of thorn on his head , – but not dead thorns as shown in all pictures of Jesus on the cross, but instead with flowers on. Since this tiny detail differs from the general picture it might indicate the cloth’s authenticity. Yeshua is alive! This could be a message to humanity. What are your thoughts?
Anders Moberg, December 21st 2013.