As a pastor, I make visits to hospitals a lot. And as usual, I think about my surroundings with respect to my very deeply held convictions.
In my experience, most hospitals have a Christian foundation. In Denver alone, I usually visit Adventist or Catholic or Presbyterian hospitals with strong Christian convictions about care for the whole person, body and soul. When I lived in Tennessee, there were Baptist and Methodist hospitals. Today as I was visiting a patient in St. Anthony's (Catholic) Hospital, this thought struck me: how come I've never seen Mormon or Islamic or (insert any other world religion here) hospitals?
Now, they may very well exist around the world. Any reader could check my ignorance on that fact. But in America, it's undeniable that the best human healthcare has Christian origins. That's interesting, especially in light of a few things:
1) That an ignorant complaint often lodged against Christians are that they are too heavenly minded to be any earthly good. And,
2) That most of what I read on persecuted Christians around the world happens at the hands of Muslims.
On one hand, simple historical data will tell you that Christians have always had a robust view of earth and heaven, perhaps the best view of all worldviews. It was Christians that founded hospitals, started science (because the world was orderly and empirically testable because God made it that way), started classic charity organizations (Red Cross, Goodwill, Salvation Army, etc.), helped abolished slavery in the British empire (Wilberforce), and many many other examples.
On the other hand, many Christians in the world need hospital care because of the violence ingrained in Islam. I get a prayer email for persecuted Christians every week. Consider Friday's email:
IRAN -- Muslims Turning to Christ -- VOM Contacts
The Voice of the Martyrs contacts report that Muslims are coming to Christ in record numbers in Iran. Despite increased persecution in recent months, believers in Iran are courageously sharing Christ with Muslims and lives are being changed. Pray the new believers will grow in their faith. Ask God to protect and encourage believers in Iran. Pray believers will use their testimonies to draw nonbelievers into fellowship with Christ.
ETHIOPIA -- Muslims Attack Somali Church Leader -- International Christian Concern
On Aug. 21, Mohamed Ali Garas, a prominent Somali church leader and convert from Islam, was beaten by Muslims in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, according to International Christian Concern. Mohamed was walking to his new home when two Somali Muslim men struck him on the head with a wooden club and knocked him to the ground. The men continued hitting and kicking him in the chest and stomach. Mohamed had fled to Ethiopia from Somalia in 2005 after Somali authorities attempted to arrest him. He had also recently moved to a new neighborhood in Addis Ababa because Somali Muslims threatened to attack him. At last report, Mohamed was being treated at a local hospital for his injuries. In recent months, Somali Christians living in Ethiopia have come under increased attacks from Somali Muslims. A Christian man was assaulted in July for reading a book critical of the Prophet Muhammad. A Somali pastor in the Ethiopian capital described this latest attack as "an apparent attempt to scare the Somali Christian community in Addis Ababa who consider Ethiopia a safe haven from religious persecution." Ask God to give Mohamed healing. Pray that his attackers will be brought to justice. Pray that he and other Somali believers facing persecution in Ethiopia will continue to trust the Lord to guide and embolden them as they serve Him.
TANZANIA -- Evangelist Arrested in Zanzibar -- Compass Direct News
According to Compass Direct News, in early August Tanzanian security agents arrested Peter Masanja, an evangelist in Zanzibar's southeastern town of Paje. Earlier this year, Peter invited members of the Pentecostal Church in Zanzibar to hold church activities in his home. This angered local Muslims, who believed he was planning to establish a church on his land. His wife grew concerned after Peter failed to return home one day. After searching for several days, his wife learned Peter had been arrested and imprisoned. Local pastors tried to meet with prison authorities about Peter's arrest, but were told that the person in charge of the prison was away on business. Pray that Peter will be released. Pray also for his family, that their faith in Christ will grow stronger during these difficult days. Ask God to equip Christians in Tanzania through His grace to demonstrate His love and forgiveness amid great opposition.
Islam and Christianity seem to be at vast differences in caring for the peoples of the world. I hope you will join me in having your eyes open to the truth and for praying for persecuted peoples all over the world, whomever they may be.