Observations from Missionaries
Today my church was lucky enough to have two missionaries visiting. They were especially special because thy had both grown in the Middle-East up as Muslims before converting. Now they help (and preach to) refugees when the reach Canada. They were able to tell us many interesting things, including:
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This is a time of great success. More Muslims have converted to Christianity in the last 15 years than in all of history before. And this is a cautious estimate: I have also heard the last 10 years.
The cause of this is Muslim persecution of Christians (and I assume other branches of Islam). There are a lot of Middle-Eastern governments doing some very nasty things, and they are explicitly doing it in the name of Allah. This leads many Muslims (who are good people) to decide that they want nothing to do with a god who supports things like that.
The most effective tool we have is love. It appears that, in the Middle East, there isn't much help and kindness to strangers. When they meet people who live according to rules like "love your neighbours" and "love your enemies", it's something new and wonderful. They want to be with those people, and then to be like them. This was a surprise to me, since I had picked up the feeling that modern Christianity fails miserably at that stuff.
The UN apparently has a program for taking Christians out of the Middle-East as refugees. Or Muslims who are pretending to be Christians, although they seem to be able to catch those. I would have guessed that that fell afoul of some law about religious discrimination.
The modern West is apparently more logical than the Middle East, which is more emotional. I think I should probably never go to the Middle East, since I find even the West uncomfortably emotional.
Probably related to the above (in the missionaries' judgement) is something I still don't have my head around entirely yet: People in (from?) the Middle-East still sometimes see visions! With actual information in them, not just the vague (if powerful) feeling of holiness people here sometimes get. It's practical, down-to-earth stuff, but most communication of any sort is.
And yes, I am keeping open the possibility that this will turn out to be wrong. Such things do happen. But it is not incompatible with my broader understanding of the world.
One of the missionaries was born blind. However, he still thinks in pictures. And saw a vision that was... well, visual. Even if someone wants to debate the vision part, the "visual" part seems pretty safe. So this means that the mind's eye is innate, as opposed to a learned mode of thinking based on the senses. Which is relevant to aphantasia.
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