"I went to Jerusalem to become acquainted (Gk. istoria) with Cephas" - Paul's words from Galatians 1:18.

Global Communications and the One World Information Network Is a Good Thing

Pastor Terry Jones of the Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida plans to hold a bonfire on September 11, 2010 where he and his church members will burn Korans. Yesterday several hundred Afghans marched in the streets of Kabul and burned an effigy of the pastor (left) while General Petraeus, U.S. Commander of Armed Forces in Afghanistan, spoke out against the pastor's plans. I expected the latter, but the Afghans marching in the streets of the capital city caused me to pause.

Just a few decades ago it would have taken weeks, maybe months, for information about a small church pastor's intention to burn Korans in America to reach Afghanistan.  Now, with the rise of the world-wide information network called the Internet, news from Florida reaches Afghanistan instantly.

It is for this reason that I am not as pessimistic as some of my Christian brothers and sisters about the state of the world. Very few people knew about the killing fields of Cambodia during the the time that hundreds of thousands of people were being systematically executed from 1975-1979. Had the Internet been around even thirty years ago it is quite possible that the collective outrage of the world's civilizations would have put a stop to Khmer Rouge regime.

Regardless of what one thinks of Pastor Jones' plans to burn Korans, it is impressive to me that Afghanis are marching in the streets of Kabul in protest of an anticipated event. The shrinking of the world into a collective community of informed people is not a bad thing.

27 comments:

Bob Cleveland said...

I agree, and it almost seems as if it's all part of some plan that's preparing the world for something.

I think I know Who the Planner is, too.

RRR said...

I would like to share in your optimistic view that the world would take up the banner for injustices like the Khmer Rouge should it be occurring today.

It would be comforting to consider that the world, when made aware, WOULD respond with continued outrage until such atrocities were resolved because of the abhorrence over the misery inflicted by representatives of darkness.

But then I see the ineptness of the world's response to things like Mugabe in Zimbabwe, North Korea and the oppression and persecution of Christians in Iran, Egypt and other countries and it diminishes my optimism about the world’s conscience.

The lack of significant response to such atrocities as these is nothing in comparison to the world’s turning its head and not being horrified to action about the most horrific of all injustices ever known to be inflicted by “person”-kind upon the most innocent of victims; abortion and the murder of 100s of millions of infants.

It all brings me to conclude that the world's response is more of a matter of convenience and trends of political correctness than a response to what is just and unjust or its awareness.

The world will never function as the police that enforces justice and right. But praise God for the church that hopefully will serve as the real source of light in contrast to the darkness.

Anonymous said...

We have troops on the ground in Kabul.
And 'Pastor' Jones might as well burn Korans in Kabul, 'cause he is setting our sons up for retribution.

What a stupid idiot!

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, I think RRR is correct. Were the Killing Fields happening today, the news reports would be more informative and instantaneous, but the response would be the same. There are still genocides taking place in our world today. But it is still political gain, and not a moral obligation, which moves governments to act.

I live in Cambodia. The Killing Fields are about 5 miles from my home. While Cambodia is finally emerging from the effects of the Khmer Rouge Regime, the people are still suffering. The government is corrupt. The rich and powerful forcibly confiscate land from the poor. Women, girls and boys are sold into the sex trade on an alarming scale. Even if governments are silent on such issues, the church should not be. I am concerned that Southern Baptist's paranoia of the "Social Gospel" has left us comfortably inept when confronted with social injustice (it's better to sit home and do nothing rather than be mistaken for a liberal with a social conscience).

Learn to do what is good.
Seek justice.
Correct the oppressor.
Defend the rights of the fatherless.
Plead the widow's cause. (Is. 1:17)

"Pastor" Jones and Dove World Outreach Center claim to be "a New Testament Church – based on the Bible, the Word of God." If that were true, how is it that they so fervently betray God's word?

"You have heard that it was said, Love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I tell you, love your enemy and pray for those who persecute you so that you may be sons of your Father in heaven...." (Mt. 5:43-48)

Lydia said...

Instant communication can also kill people. Such as when this happened:

"In 2005, 15 people died and scores were wounded in riots in Afghanistan sparked by a story in Newsweek magazine alleging that interrogators at the U.S. detention center in Guantanamo Bay placed copies of the Koran in washrooms and had flushed one down the toilet to get inmates to talk. Newsweek later retracted the story."

Islam does not tolerate free speech in any form. Just ask Aryaan Hirisi, Theo van Gogh (oops, he was murdered) or Salman Rushdi...and the Danish cartoonist.

Lydia said...

BTW: Burning the Koran is simply this: Instantaneous world wide media fame for this pastor. He is getting his 15 min.

BeamStalk said...

I agree that it is a good thing, but I don't know how much it would help against things like the Khmer Rouge. Look at Sudan and the Darfur region, look at Somalia, and many other African countries. we still only seem to jump in when it affects us directly. Instead of letting empathy drive us for the betterment of all humanity everywhere.

It is still a good thing because I don't think we would know anything about Darfur if it happened 20 to 30 years ago.

Wade Burleson said...

You all make some good points about nations and people being unresponsive even if evil is known.

However, I propose that the reason people don't do anything is because not enough information is known -- even in our day.

For example, the ten Christian aid workers in Afghanistan killed just a few weeks ago, does anybody know how they died? Do you know the conversations just before they were executed by the radical Taliban operatives? I would submit that if what was said and what was done was widely disseminated and known in America, the tolerance we have for Muslims who refuse to condemn such violence would be lessened.

So it is with the persecution of Christians in China. What is needed is more information, not less.

Once the truth is known by everyone, I am hopeful action will be taken.

Lydia said...

"For example, the ten Christian aid workers in Afghanistan killed just a few weeks ago, does anybody know how they died? Do you know the conversations just before they were executed by the radical Taliban operatives? I would submit that if what was said and what was done was widely disseminated and known in America, the tolerance we have for Muslims who refuse to condemn such violence would be lessened."

Do you have a link to this? Or any source?

Christiane said...

http://articles.sfgate.com/2010-08-08/news/22210381_1_zabiullah-mujahid-international-assistance-mission-kabul

Lydia said...

"Do you know the conversations just before they were executed by the radical Taliban operatives?"

This is what I was wondering if there was any information about.

John Fariss said...

Amen to anonymous in Cambodia at 10:02 AM Tuesday. Unfortunantly, this pastor at "DOVE WORLD OUTREACH" (quite an ironic name, if you think about it) is pandering to fear, hatred, and the worst in what I presume (or at least he thinks) his base is. Even worst than that, I have no doubt that he is justifying it on some Bible verse or another. And from a pragmatic viewpoint, does he not know that inevitably efforts to banish any given book just makes that book more popular, and stirs the uncommitted to read it?

John

Josh from FL said...

Anon 9:02am said
"I am concerned that Southern Baptist's paranoia of the "Social Gospel" has left us comfortably inept when confronted with social injustice (it's better to sit home and do nothing rather than be mistaken for a liberal with a social conscience)."

That statement is funny and tragic.

Praise God Jesus ministered to tax collectors and sinners without fear of being lumped in with them. (Matthew 11:18-19)

Thy Peace said...

All the below links are from NYT:

Gunmen Kill Medical Aid Workers in Afghanistan

Slain Workers Undaunted by Risks, Friends Say

U.S. Victims Identified as Bodies Arrive in Kabul

Slain Aid Workers Were Bound by Their Sacrifice

Anonymous said...

Point well taken.

Global communication has the capacity to enhance and quicken liberty.

It's fun to think how history could have been changed just by the availability of a little information, a bit sooner.

The XYZ affair, Custer at Little Big Horn (yes, General - there 5000 Indians over there, not 500), Gettysburg, WWI, WWII, Marc Anthony vs. Augustus, not to mention the thousands of romances that started or ended because of no or slow mail!

On to the Koran burning.

William F. Buckley once said that marching was a very primitive way of communicating.

How much more so burning?

What would really be cool, to pick up on your Global Communication theme, would be for this church or some church to put on the internet a 24 hour round the clock READING of the Koran, with pauses and explanations at salient points as to how the Bible differs from the Koran (thus showing how beautiful the grace, forgiveness and peace that come through Christ).

I bet we could find about 100 Christian scholars of pastors who would be willing to take a chunk of the Koran to read on a stage, and comment where appropriate.

This could be posted on the internet for all Muslims anywhere who wanted to see and hear the difference between Islam and Christ.

I know it would be long and tedious (the Koran is tedious, I have read about 60% and am bogged down), but it would be a fun project and would ultimately be more helpful and informative than a bonfire.

Louis

Thy Peace said...

Alpha & Omega Ministries Apologetics Blog [James White] > OK, I Must Agree: Best Video Ever. Academy Award Time for David and Nabeel
Of course, the point of the video is two-fold; one to introduce issues relating to the constant claim of most Muslims that the Qur'an has basically been photocopied for 1400 years (it hasn't), and the second to say something I have wanted to address but haven't had time: the International "Burn a Qur'an Day" is stupid. Dumb. Ridiculous. Started by folks who have never even read it, as far as I can tell. Far, far better than Burn a Qur'an Day would be Read a Qur'an Day: but read it knowledgeably and with insight, learning from the experience how to better proclaim a life-changing gospel to a billion people. There's an idea! Don't burn it, learn it, and then use it, to glorify Christ! Yeah, that idea will go far.

Bryan Riley said...

I agree that the flattening of the world - Friedman - provides a good foundation for positive change!

Roadmaker said...

Forgive me if I seem a little sensitive to this, folks, but as a Vietnam Veteran currently attending an Army chapel and involved with ministry to our military, the primary issue here, to me, is that this yayhoo is unnecessarily doing something that will put our Soldiers in harms way even more, and that's the last thing they need right now. I understand the point of your blog, brother, but do wish you had spoken more strongly on this point; for those of us up close and personal with Soldiers and the challenges faced by their families, I can't emphasize strongly enough that this attention-getting act is a horrible idea...

Robin Michelle said...

I think you will be interested in this TED talk on empathy

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l7AWnfFRc7g&feature=player_embedded

Sadly, I think Rifkin is more optimistic about the evolution of empathy towards the suffering others outside our own country. We still have not evolved empathy to our next door neighbors.

Maybe our kids will get it right.

Anonymous said...

Your hypothesis proving to be true depends on one giant provision ... who controls the World Information Network.

He who controls the network, controls the thoughts of the people. A scary proposition if someone evil is in charge.

Amy Downey

greg.w.h said...

Amy:

Wade's hypothesis is that God is sovereign. The instant information of the Internet permits us human beings to actually line up with him and do his will.

I realize that takes way too much time from a human scale, but it's God's plan. We'll all recognize his glory and bow down before him eventually. And we might even be surprised how he accomplishes his plan through us...and how extensive his plan really is. He's that amazing.

Greg Harvey

A. Heath said...

Wade, just got back Sunday from Cambodia. Left there frustrated that their tragic history has not been taught in our world history classes but also excited for the work that God is doing through some amazing brothers and sisters in Christ! So much to share. Would love to get John connected with our new parter there in Phnom Penh. Hope all is well!

A.

Stephen Fox said...

I'm not so sure. Bob Schieffer two weeks ago on CBS FAce the Nation made a good case Internet in wrong hands may not help us.

Sfox said...

I'm not sure Louis has a remedy when he talks about reading the Bible side by side with the Koran.
Ken Chafin said a Bible in the hands of a believer who will not submit it to rational means of investigation is a dangerous thing and has often been used to buttress up injustice.
Loook what wrong understanding of the Bible did to the Southern Baptist Convention,and the way the SBC takeover leaders walked off when Clark Pinnock and Mark Noll tried to enlighten them at Ridgecrest 87.
I would hope Wade Burleson would read Charles Kimball before he blogs much furhter on this matter.
Or spend a couple hours with him at Oklahoma U. He is there near you now

Sfox said...

I'm not sure Louis has a remedy when he talks about reading the Bible side by side with the Koran.
Ken Chafin said a Bible in the hands of a believer who will not submit it to rational means of investigation is a dangerous thing and has often been used to buttress up injustice.
Loook what wrong understanding of the Bible did to the Southern Baptist Convention,and the way the SBC takeover leaders walked off when Clark Pinnock and Mark Noll tried to enlighten them at Ridgecrest 87.
I would hope Wade Burleson would read Charles Kimball before he blogs much furhter on this matter.
Or spend a couple hours with him at Oklahoma U. He is there near you now

Anonymous said...

Greg,

I understand Wade's argument. I do not need it explained to me as I have a couple of degrees past a bachelor's.

My premise is that in the wrong hands, and that is a definite possibility in this PRESENT world, a one world information network might not be a good thing. I stand by the argument. One only has to watch the news to discover but wait you can't get outside news in China because the government can censor it.

Amy

jimmyd said...

Wade, I just want to clarify a couple items. It is my understanding that the Bibles were sent for the purpose of distribution to local Afghans, which is against military policy in that area of operations. I do not think it is accurate to say that they were confiscated from the personal possession or use of U.S. soldiers who were reading them. In addition, they were burned intead of being returned because the story had gone worldwide and, since it was known the Bibles had been in U.S. military possession, if the Bibles had been sent back to Afghanistan and distributed, it might appear that we had given them to locals, possibly causing a backlash that could impede our mission there. I recommend that churches or ministries check with a chaplain at a nearby military installation before sending literature so that they will know what is allowed and is most useful. Thanks for your blog and keep up the good work.