Learn about the bar mitzvah, and the key to success in the implementation of bar mitzvah.

Increased age is an important event in people's lives, so sometimes need to be observed with a particular celebration. With age a person, also increased responsibility that must be carried out by someone, either male or female. When someone enters a particular phase, there should be debriefing of knowledge and also a strong belief and deep.

The advantages offered by a company service, the key to success in getting consumers.

Have we confused when looking for goods for souvenirs? Or we feel confused when there is no delivery service on goods we buy? Of course, everyone has experienced it, because as consumers, we are often harmed by the services provided by the manufacturer.

Currently many manufacturers are improving services to pamper the consumer. Because the producers are aware of the importance of good service to their consumers, so consumers do not abandon their products.

One of the companies that provide good service to customers is Imprinted Promotional Product. This company is a provider of online store services, where products are sold here are very diverse, and of course quality. Some of the products sold here are imprinted mugs made of ceramic, as well as promotional key chain. Both products are just examples of quality products available in Imprinted Promotional Products.

Which became one of the hallmarks of this company is a service to deliver the goods we buy directly to the location we want. Of course, this service allows consumers to purchase and receive goods. Services like these that make a company close to its customers.

Utilizing third-party service to sell websites

Along with era growth, technological developments are also growing very rapidly. Technology seemed to run, following the increasing human needs. So also happened in the development of the website. Currently, the website seemed to be a requirement that must be met.

Website as a means of information and communication in the virtual world, currently has to be excellent. So it's not that surprising if a later lot of people who want to have a website, either personal websites and companies. Almost all the people racing to create a website, but the problem is not everyone can make a website with good.

Truck exhaust, guard your truck's performance and appearance

After so long did not write an article on this blog, I can now finally back to writing on this blog. Today I will share information about the automotive world, particularly on the truck exhaust. In a few months ago, I also once wrote an article about the automotive world, then I write about car mats, therefore, does no harm if I return today to share information about the automotive world, which is one of my hobbies.
Crate as car mats, the presence of vehicle exhaust on a truck, especially on a matter that should not be underestimated. Exhaust as a means of disposal of combustion products in the vehicle becomes a vital part, in order to maintain performance and also the condition of the vehicle itself. Especially for truck exhaust, other than as a result of combustion exhaust tips on a truck, truck exhaust can also add a fashionable impression on this vehicle. Especially when this is available lots of options type truck exhaust on the market.

The Theories on Motivation and How to Motivate Yourself

There are various theories about motivation and in this article I shall look at a few of them. The famous psychologist Abraham Maslow turned psychology on its head and instead of studying sick people and those with problems he studied healthy, successful people to find out how and why they achieved their success.

Why You Should Love Skeptical and Negative People

A skeptic is an individual who does not see the good or the possibilities of good in anything. The skeptic is most generally negative by nature and lives a very boring and mundane life, their attitude is the reason they live the pathetic life that they do. They are the cancer to the optimist.
An optimist is open minded and most generally sees something good in everything. They see the glass half full not half empty. If you were to visit a well seasoned skeptics home, you would find a whole slew of them living under the same roof. Why, because the negativity of a good skeptic spreads like wild fire. Now, why is it so important to you; the optimist, to get to know as many negative and skeptical people as humanly possible, the answer; MOTIVATION.

How to Use 3 Proven Tips to Get You Motivated

Do you want to learn how you can get motivated any time you want? If you do, read this article to the end because you are going to discover the 3 proven tips that can help you to get motivated at any time you want.
Motivation is a very important key that can help you to achieve whatever you want in your life. If you do not have the motivation, it is very difficult for you to have the drive to get things done. Successful people are full of motivation and this is why they are always productive and did what they supposed to do. So here are the 3 proven tips that can help you...

3 Power Keys to Unleash Your Motivation in an Instant

Staying motivated is one of the most important keys to success that you must adopt. If you fail to motivate yourself, you will never have the drive to take the necessary action. And if you are not taking any action, you will never produce the results you want. This is why motivation is important if you want to be successful.
This is exactly what you are going to find out in this article. You will discover the 3 power keys to unleash your motivation in an instant. Apply these 3 keys into your life and you will turn yourself on for success...

Nothing impossible in the world!

Adversities always add fuel to fire success. Sometimes unwarranted adversities will force us to distance ourselves from goals. In such times, we know that success is impossible. In this time of dilemma, people behave in two ways. When you feel that it is highly impossible to achieve anything, intelligent will divert their goals. One should not put futile efforts though we know that we cannot do it. It is true that perseverance is most important to achieve goals. At the same time, one has to have self awareness. You should not be adamant when you hit the road block.

Do You Know If Sleep Can Make You Look Beautiful?

Nothing makes you look better than getting your daily quota of beauty sleep. Most people tend to take the benefits of sound sleep for granted, but research has shown that a good night's rest is vital for your physical as well as your mental well being. The healthier your mind and body, the better you will look. You can always make out the difference between someone who sleeps well and someone who doesn't. The person with eight hours of tranquil sleep under the belt will be calm, relaxed and blooming.

Poverty is the Absence of Education

Poverty in its full meaning and implication is the inability of the individual or group to adequately access the very things that essentially support daily living including food, water, health and other key necessities of life that makes for both productivity and sustenance. The simplest meaning of this is that poverty is total lack of the capacity to generate the resources or materials that sustains daily living both for the individual and the group, and also confers dignity on human life by giving the individual access to minimum decent living. This means that ones the individual is empowered with the capacity for productive, dignifying and decent living, then poverty has been definitely eliminated or considerably alleviated.

Immortality - The Evolution of Human Beings Into Divine Human Beings

There are two types of "evolution" occurring in our species. The first is Darwin's "competitive" evolution that is based on the adage of "survival of the fittest". The second is a Spiritual evolution that entails human beings reclaiming their rightful place in the Universe as the Divine Beings that they (we) are.
Darwin's process is clearly based on a fundamental force called "the fear of not surviving" or death where as the Spiritual Evolution is based on an entirely different and contrary energy which is that of "Life". In other words these two processes are not only driven by contrary forces they are also headed in contrary directions!
It has been proposed that Darwin's process is a normal and positive process for our species. After all, many would say, "hasn't it been this process that has moved us into the technological age with all our wonderful gadgets?". Some would even say that this process is leading us to develop robotic technologies that we will be able to use as the new vehicle for our "souls" to extend our life spans and hence achieve an immortal existence (see "The Age of Spiritual Machines" by Ray Kurzweil). All we have to do is to give up our organic bodies and transfer our consciousness into these shiny robotic shells.

Two Faiths, One Love - Greater Acceptance For Interfaith Marriages

It's Obama time, and there is something wonderful in the air - the celebration of multiculturalism. The fact that more and more couples of different faiths and cultures are intermarrying is undeniable. An estimated one third of today's marriages are mixed unions. Over my 12 plus years as an interfaith minister and counselor for intermarrying couples and their families, I have seen some dramatic changes. I see a greater acceptance of such unions simply for the reason that they are not so novel anymore.

Can Interfaith Marriages Really Work?

Does religion really matters when it comes to marriage? Can it make two souls become one as well? Does it work for a Catholic and an Islam? Most of the time, religion is one of the reasons why some relationship don't work.
Let's talk about Annie and John's love story. Annie's parents are devout catholic and John's are a devout Islam. Both have strong convictions on what they believe in and no one wanted to give up on their faith. Yet for two souls with different faith and beliefs to be married as one is something to really work hard for to make it work.

Reflection on Afghanistan - A Message For the Wider World

One of the main reasons why the British Army is considered to be the best in the world is due to its regimental system, established and perpetuated for hundreds of years because it works. At the heart of it is esprit de corps, a sense of comradeship, loyalty to a cause and each other, a bond that can be stronger even than the bond of family.

Marathi Culture

Culture of a clan is based on the rituals followed in the clan and one such great ritual is marriage. The culture of a community or language clan could be very easily identified if one could attend their marriage and check out all the proceedings they follow during the marriage. Indian culture has always involved grandiose traditions, religious depiction and social values insisting unity. The colours and art in a culture could widely be seen during the festival times. Marathi people live, majorly in Maharashtra, which is the third largest state in India, and has the second largest population in India. It has varied customs and traditions yet the culture of the Marathi people have not changed or deteriorated over time. However, there were many traditions changed to accommodate the new fashions.

The 14th Dalai Lama Short Biography

The 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, is the spiritual and political leader of the Tibetan people. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989 and has travelled extensively around the world offering the message of Tibetan Buddhism.
The Dalai Lama was born in the small Tibetan village of Takster in Northern Tibet. His original name being Tenzin Gyatso. At the age of 2 Tenzin was recognized as the reincarnation of his predecessor, the 13th Dalai Lama. Thus from an early age the Dalai Lama spent many years studying Tibetan scriptures and he completed a doctorate in Tibetan Buddhist philosophy by the age of 25.
The Dalai Lama means Ocean of Wisdom. Lama also means "Guru" or teacher. The Dalai Lama's are believed to be reincarnations of the Bodhisattva of compassion. These are beings who choose to reincarnate to serve humanity. As the Dalai Lama says himself.
"The more we care for the happiness of others, the greater our own sense of well-being becomes."
Despite being a man of peace the Dalai Lama has had to face the consequences of the Chinese occupation of Tibet. In 1950 the Chinese army entered into Tibet and began to degenerate the Tibetan culture and religion. Despite many attempted negotiations and non-violent protests the Dalai Lama was finally forced into exile in 1959. With many followers the Dalai Lama fled to Dharamsala in India. Since 1960 the Dalai Lama has maintained a Tibetan government in exile from this base in Dharamsala. Despite the turbulent and difficult times the Dalai Lama has lived through he has sought to maintain a spiritual outlook and learn to deal with life's challenges, even his "enemies"
"Feelings of anger, bitterness, and hate are negative. If I kept those inside me they would spoil my body and my health. They are of no use."
"Infinite altruism is the basis of peace and happiness. If you want altruism, you must control hate and you must practice patience. The main teachers of patience are our enemies."
- Dalai Lama
The Dalai Lama has sought to preserve parts of the Tibetan culture through educational and cultural institutions. He has also sought to raise awareness of the plight of Tibet to the wider world.
The Dalai Lama has travelled extensively in the West meeting with many religious and political leaders. The Dalai Lama has said that there is a need for a variety of faiths and religions so that it can suit the different temprements of people. He advises people to think very carefully before changing their religion. He has often said there is an underlying unity between the different world religions.
" All religions are essentially the same in their goal of developing a good human heart so that we may become better human beings."
In 1989 the Dalai Lama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. The Nobel citation read:
"The Committee wants to emphasize the fact that the Dalai Lama in his struggle for the liberation of Tibet consistently has opposed the use of violence. He has instead advocated peaceful solutions based upon tolerance and mutual respect in order to preserve the historical and cultural heritage of his people."
The Dalai Lama himself has often described himself as being a simple Tibetan Monk. He rises at 4am to meditate and prayer. The Dalai Lama has also written many books on Buddhism and ways to inner peace.

Save The Palestinian Cultural Heritage

Palestinian Cultural Heritage is not limited to a specific religious group or chronological framework like most source countries of the Mediterranean and the Middle East. It encompasses an incredible diachronic and multi-cultural spectrum of cultural expressions. This ranges from tangible cultural heritage, which includes:
movable cultural heritage (paintings, sculptures, coins, manuscripts)
immovable cultural heritage (monuments, archaeological sites)
And also encompasses intangible cultural heritage expressed through:
oral traditions, performing arts, rituals
As well as natural heritage seen in:
natural sites with cultural aspects such as cultural landscapes, physical, biological or geological formations
This cultural wealth is embedded in Palestinian identity through the ages. Its rich past can be visualised as a mosaic of colourful little stones, each with its function and place; it is the result of religious variety and a strong diachronic and omnipresent multi-culturalism.
In this article, I present a collation of concerns on the situation of Palestinian Cultural Heritage at Hebron al-Khalil with a focus on the Ibrahemi Mosque. This city boasts remains from the Canaanite culture of the Bronze Age ca. 3,500 B.C.E, through the early historic ages, the Roman and Christian periods, the Middle Ages, and all the way to our era. Yet, this diachronic multi-cultural past is denied and treated with selectivity with regard to its value and identity, both in theory and in practice. Selectivity mostly effects restrictions to its current Muslim identity and religious practices as linked to the Ibrahemi Mosque.
Today, the story of Hebron and its monuments is attempted to be re-written through a number of events and actions, which constitute violations of the full spectrum of Cultural and other Fundamental Human Rights related to the existence of Palestinian Identity and Palestinian Cultural Heritage. The recent decision of Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, declares that the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron and Rachel's Tomb in Bethlehem, both of which are in the Palestinian Territories and under the auspices of the PNA and the Palestinian Antiquities Authority, though under Israeli control according to Oslo accords, are to be added to the list of Israel's 'national' heritage sites that the government plans to promote. It is reported and useful to retain that this decision was promulgated during a cabinet meeting in the northern town of Tel Hai, where the Prime Minister precise that rightist religious party Shas persuaded him to add the two sites to the list. The process and motivation for these actions is recounted in Mr. Netanyahu's words:
"Our existence depends not only on the IDF or our economic resilience - it is anchored in...the national sentiment that we will bestow upon the coming generations and in our ability to justify our connection to the land,".
Similar intense religious and nationalistic statements, supported by the annexation and physical intervention on key cultural and archaeological sites, are by no means new for Israel. Its systematisation, as reported by Israeli archaeologists begins shortly after the 1967 war and the annexation of the Palestinian Territories, including East Jerusalem. The Palestinian Territories are interesting 'culturally' and Israel has heightened awareness and appreciation on the potential of culture. The most recent statistics on the number of archaeological sites mapped within the Palestinian Territories, record the identification of 5400 archaeological sites. Already, 900 sites have been excavated by Israel implementing on the ground the policy of cultural appreciation.
The case of the Cave of the Patriarchs and the Ibrahemi Mosque in al-Khalil merits special attention. This is due to its perception, state and use as an 'active monument' since 1206, of cultural and religious importance, which elevates it to the status of 'living heritage'. This is to be differentiated from other types of heritage, such as the local archaeological site of Tell Rumeida whose activities seized with the end of the Canaanite culture.
Tradition holds that the Cave of the Patriarchs is was the first plot of land that Abraham the Patriarch bought, and where he and his family tomb lies today. The first enclosure to the caves was built under the auspices of Herod the Great. Under the Byzantine Empire, a basilica was built on the spot, later ruined by the Persians in 614 C.E. Upon the remains of the Christian Basilica, the Ibrahemi Mosque was built in 637. The Ummayads equally contributed significantly to its restoration after severe earthquakes. The Crusaders recaptured the site in 1100 and turned it into a Church and in 1188 Salâh Ad-Dîn Al-Ayyûbî recaptured it and turned it into a Mosque with limited access for Christians to worship. In the Mamluk period, important works were undertaken to turn it into a proper Mosque and Jews were hence forbidden to enter. As known to date, a Jewish synagogue has never existed on the spot. Since 1967 around 3/4 of the Mosque was confiscated and benches and other ornaments were added gradually to transform it into a synagoguial space. Although to the Jewish faith it constitutes a Holy Place, the investment is limited and only recent.
From this very brief outline of major activities, it is seen that there have always been shared and conflicting interests in the maintenance and preservation of the character of this site, claimed by all three monotheistic religions in their efforts of self-presentation. Its status has followed that of the two major occupying religions, Christianity and Islaam both of which were eager to impose a specific religious character. The most tolerant period was the Mamluk with limited Christian access inside the Mosque. The Mamluks forbade Jews from entering the site, only allowing them as close as the 5th step on a staircase at the southeast, but after some time this was increased to the 7th step.
Yet, proportionately, most works and expenses undertaken, as well as 'duration' past and current with regard to religious heritage is strongly in favour of the Muslim community as attested to by 14 centuries of history. The mosque also acquired further importance during time as a community charitable centre. It came to include a school, a dike, a drinking fountain, a hospital for the mentally disabled and a mail centre on its grounds that were constructed during the Mamluk period. Hebron today is a city which boasts a strong Muslim population and the Ibrahemi Mosque is under the auspices of the Islamic Waqf, as other holy sites in Palestine.
Israel continues to deny the cultural and religious significance of the Mosque, in its efforts to assimilate it to its national agenda. This situation in Hebron today with regard to Muslim monuments and holy places is in constant deterioration. It reminds us of the events of 2007.
As reported:
'The settlers, under the protection of the Israeli army, stormed the two places then took the furniture out in the street and threatened to burn it during a coming Jewish holiday. Aqtab mosque and the nearby Islamic Waqf offices are closed by the army since five years were the army do not allow the Palestinian residents from praying in the at mosque in the same time soldiers allow Israeli settlers from attacking and destroying the mosque in order to take it and turn it into a Jewish synagogue.'
The current agenda of Israel is to create a national sentiment through ground actions of presence to justify its connection to the land under occupation. This misallocation of force and active cleansing of targeted cities and sites that preserve its local character are assaults against Cultural Heritage and the Right to Culture. This further inhibits the practice of fundamental Human Rights, such as the Freedom of Religion and the Right to Development. This applies to both the Christian and Muslim populations of Palestine. From the example of al-Khalil it is demonstrated that the targeting of Cultural Heritage is a burning Humanitarian issues for the Palestinians which merits action and we encourage that the preponderant culture of impunity that Israel benefits from is levered so that the damages are halted and that Palestinian Cultural Heritage may survive.

Domingo Vilalta - The Case

Miami-Dade police are not saying if a body found in Biscayne Bay is that of a man who went missing after he fell or was pushed off a boat near the Broad Causeway Sunday night. The man’s body was spotted floating in Pelican Harbor early Tuesday morning. Police say it will be up to the Medical Examiner to confirm that the body is that of 22-year-old Domingo Vilalta. A homicide investigation was launched into Vilalta’s disappearance following reports that he might have been pushed off the boat. “They pushed him off the boat on purpose,” Jennexis Castranos, the victim’s cousin said. “They were having a discussion and they pushed him off.”

It happened around 8:20 p.m. According to investigators, Domingo Vilalta was out on the water with a group of people who were partying in two boats off the Broad Causeway. As the vessels departed, they noticed that Vilalta was missing; both boats returned and searched the area. But they couldn’t find Domingo Vilalta.

Several Miami-Dade Fire Rescue and police boats searched the waters off the Broad Causeway and Bay Harbor Islands for several hours. At 11 p.m. the search was suspended for the night.

On Monday they hit the water again, only this time is was deemed a recovery mission. Several members of Domingo Vilalta’s family joined the search efforts in a private boat.

So far no arrests have been made as police try to determine the circumstances that led to Domingo Vilalta being in the water.

Frida Kahlo Biography - Painting Realism, Symbolism, Surrealism

Frida Kahlo was born in Mexico, in the year 1907. It was very unfortunate that an artist of such a huge talent did not survive for long. She died July 13 1957. "I hope the exit is joyful - and I hope never to return." This was what Frida had written before few days of her death.
The Artist: If we closely look at the paintings done by Frida Kahlo we would not miss seeing the use of vibrant colours. Her style of painting was strongly influenced by the local culture of her country of birth, Mexico. In her paintings, we can see the influence of European masters. Her work seems influenced by the art movements that had stirred the whole of Europe: the realism, the surrealism, and symbolism.
As it happens in many painters, art work of Frida had received no or very less recognition during her life time. But Frida has a typical reason for that. She was wife of a great painter of Mexico. Her husband Diego Rivera was a renowned painter. So during her life time, she remained an artist being shadowed by popularity of her husband.
The Art: She often said that: "I paint myself because I am often alone and I am the subject I know best." She had painted numerous self portraits. In many paintings, she had used her face as one of the figure to be painted. She had tried injecting her feelings in her paintings. It was a public talk that her marital life was not an easy going one.

Frida Kahlo Biography - The Story of an Extraordinarily Courageous Painter

Frida Kahlo was a famous Mexico born painter who often painted her own portrait, depicting her painfully unstable and tragic life. Frida was one of the four daughters born to Hungarian-Jewish Father, Guillermo Kahlo, and the mother of Spanish-Mexican descent, Matilde Calderón y Gonzalez.
Frida Kahlo wanted to be a doctor; destiny had something else planned for her though. A Polio survivor, at the age of 15, Frida Kahlo joined the Premedical Program at the National Preparatory School in Mexico. As fate had it though, Kahlo met with a tragic bus accident, which ended her three years of training. In this accident, Frida Kahlo was gravely injured and she spent a year on bed recovering from the fractures of her Back, Collarbone& Ribs, Pelvis, and Shoulder & Foot injuries. In addition, an Iron Handrail pierced her Abdomen and Uterus, which seriously damaged Frida's reproductive ability. Despite the fact that she underwent 30 operations, Frida Kahlo spent the rest of her life in constant physical pain and trauma. At this point of time, her interests actually changed from being a doctor to being a full- fledged painter.
Since the accident left her in great deal of pain, Frida Kahlo expressed it through her paintings. She painted self-portraits to keep herself occupied during the three months she was bed-ridden. Frida Kahlo's mother furnished her a special Easel, customized to Frida's needs of painting in bed. Frida Kahlo's dad presented her with a box of Oil Paints and Brushes.
Kahlo had deep influence of Native Mexican and European Cultures, which is reflected through her use of Bright Colors and Dramatic Symbolism. Frida Kahlo's paintings also depict different Visual Art Styles including, Realism, Symbolism, and Surrealism. In addition, symbolic representations such as, monkey, and Christian & Jewish influences can also be noted in Frida Kahlo's paintings.
At the age of 21, Frida Kahlo fell in love with a Mexican Muralist, Diego Rivera, who was 20 years elder to her. The couple eventually married in 1929. Their relationship witnessed several upheavals and survived through infidelities, the pressures of Rivera's career, a divorce & a remarriage, and most importantly Frida Kahlo's poor health. All this while, Kahlo continued to use her paintings as a medium to express the entire physical and psychological trauma that she went through. During the 1940s, Frida Kahlo enjoyed considerable success, as her first solo exhibition was held in New York. Frida Kahlo died on July 13, 1954, due to Pulmonary Embolism.
Frida Kahlo assumed soaring fame in the 80s with a number of books being published on her challenging life and her artworks, which also included an explosion of Kahlo-inspired films, plays, and calendars. All this soon transitioned Frida Kahlo's social stature from a struggling girl to an authentic cult figure. Her house, La Casa Azul, was posthumously converted into a museum that houses a number of her artworks and numerous relics of her personal life.
A great painter indeed, Frida Kahlo, through her paintings, exhibited her personal "painful" experiences, which included her marriage and the numerous operations. Definitely, Kahlo's artworks are a symbol of her great courageous spirit and her conviction to survive.

US President Barack Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for offering the world hope and striving for nuclear disarmament in a surprise award that drew both warm praise and sharp criticism.

The bestowal of one of the world's top accolades on a president less than nine months in office, who has yet to score a major foreign policy success, was greeted with gasps of astonishment from journalists at the announcement in Oslo.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee praised Obama for 'his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.'
Critics - some in parts of the Arab and Muslim world - called the committee decision premature.
Obama's press secretary woke him with the news before dawn and the president felt 'humbled' by the award, a senior administration official said.
When told in an email from Reuters that many people around the world were stunned by the announcement, Obama's senior adviser, David Axelrod, responded: 'As are we'.
The first African-American to hold his country's highest office, Obama, 48, has called for disarmament and worked to restart stalled Middle East peace moves since taking office in January.
'Very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world's attention and given its people hope for a better future,' the committee said in a citation.
Despite problems at home that include high unemployment, the US president is still widely seen around the world as an inspirational figure.
Obama laid out his vision on eliminating nuclear arms in a speech in Prague in April. But he was not the first American president to set that goal, and acknowledged it might not be reached in his lifetime.
Obama was to make a statement in the White House Rose Garden at 10:30 a.m. EDT (1430 GMT). The president, struggling at home with high unemployment and resistance in Congress to his healthcare reform plans, is likely to go to Oslo to receive the prize, Axelrod told the MSNBC TV channel.
While the award won praise from such statesmen as Nelson Mandela and Mikhail Gorbachev, both Nobel laureates, it was also attacked in some quarters as hasty and undeserved.
Afghanistan's Taliban mocked the award, saying Obama should get a Nobel prize for violence instead.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said it was absurd to give a peace award to a man who had sent 21,000 extra troops to Afghanistan to escalate a war.
'The Nobel prize for peace? Obama should have won the 'Nobel Prize for escalating violence and killing civilians','
he told Reuters by telephone from an undisclosed location.
Obama is considering a request from his top commander in Afghanistan to send him at least 40,000 more troops.
The Palestinian movement Hamas said the award was premature at best.

Embarrassing 'Joke'
Obama is the fourth U.S. president to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize after Jimmy Carter won in 2002, Woodrow Wilson picked it up in 1919 and Theodore Roosevelt was chosen for the 1906 prize.
Issam al-Khazraji, a day laborer in Baghdad, said of Obama:
'He doesn't deserve this prize. All these problems - Iraq, Afghanistan - have not been solved . . . man of 'change'
hasn't changed anything yet.'
Liaqat Baluch, a senior leader of the Jamaat-i-Islami, in Pakistan, called the award an embarrassing 'joke'.
But the chief Palestinian peace negotiator, Saeb Erekat, welcomed it and expressed hope that Obama 'will be able to achieve peace in the Middle East.'
Nobel Committee Chairman Thorbjoern Jagland rejected suggestions from journalists that Obama was getting the prize too early, saying it recognized what he had already done over the past year.
'We hope this can contribute a little bit to enhance what he is trying to do,' he told a news conference.
The committee said it attached 'special importance to Obama's vision of and work for a world without nuclear weapons,' saying he had 'created a new climate in international politics'.
Without naming Obama's predecessor George W. Bush, it highlighted the differences in America's engagement with the rest of the world since the change of administration in January.
'Multilateral diplomacy has regained a central position, with emphasis on the role that the United Nations and other international institutions can play.
'Dialogue and negotiations are preferred as instruments for resolving even the most difficult international conflicts,' it said, and the United States was playing a more constructive role in tackling climate change.
Obama is negotiating arms cuts with Russia, and last month dropped plans to base elements of a US anti-missile shield in Poland and the Czech Republic. Moscow had seen the scheme as a threat, despite US assurances it was directed against Iran.-Reuters

Afghanistan's effort to forge a peace deal with the Taliban was branded "a disgrace" by the sacked head of the country's spy service.

President Hamid Karzai's dismissal of Amrullah Saleh, the head of Afghanistan's National Directorate for Security (NDS) - the equivalent of MI5 - and Hanif Atmar, the head of the Interior Ministry, on Sunday exposed deep divisions within the Afghan government and Nato members over an emerging peace talks process.
The move has been hailed as a boost for negotiations on reconciliation with insurgents by those in favour of the talks, including some British officials and Pakistan, but criticised by their American counterparts.
Mr Saleh and Mr Atmar were sacked after the Taliban carried out a rocket attack on a gathering of tribal elders in Kabul last week during a speech by President Karzai. Although the rockets missed the building were the peace conference was being held, the breach was deemed a serious assault on the Afghan government.
But Mr Saleh said the reasons for his dismissal went beyond the security failure, adding that he had worked to undermine efforts to achieve peace with the Taliban. "Negotiating with suicide bombers will disgrace this country," he said.
Officials in Pakistan hailed the development as a sign Mr Karzai was ready to deal with his enemies. He said: "Perhaps this will bring to an end the mixed signals Kabul sends out by conducting dialogue on the one hand and sabotaging talks on the other."
However, Nato officials said the loss of two key security officials was "not helpful".
Mr Saleh has led the NDS for six years and the organisation is held in high regard. "The NDS is very effective, very efficient and in the long term his removal will lead to a security vacuum," said a member of a British think tank who has met the spy chief.
Separately, Pakistan on Tuesday claimed it had crushed the Taliban presence in the war-torn region along the Afghan border.
Major General Tariq Khan, Inspector General of the Frontier Scouts, said major operations across the mountainous region would wind down in the next two months.
He said it would leave only North Waziristan – a rugged, mountainous region that has drawn jihadi groups from across Pakistan – in the hands of the militants.
Maj Gen Khan said his men had cleared 13,000 square miles in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, with large-scale fighting remaining in one last area.
"We are about to conclude our operation in Orakzai, which will be the last of it," he said. "The Frontier Scouts area will more or less be cleared of militants to the extent that we can stop kinetic – large-scale – operations but we will continue policing operations."

By Damien McElroy and Rob Crilly in Peshawar
Published: 4:54PM BST 08 Jun 2010

Nelson Mandela marks 20 years of freedom

South Africans are celebrating how far they have come since Nelson Mandela took his first steps to freedom 20 years ago today.

Thousands gathered for commemorations at what was known in 1990 as Victor Verster Prison, near Cape Town. A re-enactment is planned of the moment Mandela, hand-in-hand with his then-wife Winnie, walked free after 27 years in prison.

Cyril Ramaphosa, a leader in Mandela’s African National Congress, said: “We knew that his freedom meant that our freedom had also arrived.”

Just four years after Mandela’s release, South Africans held their first all-race elections, making Mandela their first black president.

His ANC has reduced poverty, built houses and delivered water, electricity and schools to blacks who had been without under apartheid. But needs remain great.

Mvuso Mbali, 37, was in the crowd today and said he was at the prison 20 years ago.
“I still remember vividly what happened,” he said.

He added: “Today we are reinventing our freedom and uniting our people to follow the values of Mandela.”

But others said Mandela’s release – triumphant as it was – carried uncertainty too.

“When Mandela was released we did not know what was going happen,” said Nontuntuzelo Faku, who came to today‘s event.

But being at the prison 20 years later, she said, “makes me realise how far the country has come”.
Mandela’s release was the culmination of an eventful few days for South Africa.

On February 2, then-President FW de Klerk announced the unbanning of the ANC and other organisations. On February 10, de Klerk announced at a press conference that Mandela would be released the next day.

Whites conditioned to see Mandela as an enemy who would destroy their way of life were shocked and confused. Blacks were uncertain that Mandela, known affectionately by his clan name Madiba, was right to trust de Klerk. Civil war seemed possible.

“I think the imprint of February is deeply etched into the psyche of our nation,” Mac Maharaj, a key ANC leader at the time, said.

“That image of Madiba, Winnie, walking out of Victor Verster, holding hands. Madiba looking quite, quite sombre, not celebratory, not pumping the air and jumping about like a victorious boxer, but walking very sternly, and I think I see a sense of bewilderment in him.”

Mandela marked the anniversary of his release at home last week, reminiscing with fellow veterans of the anti-apartheid struggle for the camera’s of his daughter Zindzi’s production company, which was preparing a documentary called Conversations About That Day.

He also was expected to be in parliament later today for a State of the Nation address by President Jacob Zuma scheduled to coincide with the anniversary as a tribute.

Mandela, who will be 92 in July, has largely retired from public life.

Most Islamic studies teachers oppose pluralism, survey finds

Most Islamic studies teachers in public and private schools in Java oppose pluralism, tending toward radicalism and conservatism, according to a survey released in Jakarta on Tuesday.

The study shows 62.4 percent of the surveyed Islamic teachers, including those from Nahdlatul Ulama and Muhammadiyah — the country’s two largest Muslim organizations — reject the notion of having non-Muslim leaders.

The survey was conducted last month by the Center for Islamic and Society Studies (PPIM) at Syarif Hidayatullah State Islamic University in Jakarta, involving some 500 Islamic studies teachers throughout Java.

It reveals 68.6 percent of the respondents are opposed to non-Muslims becoming their school principle and 33.8 percent are opposed to having non-Muslim teachers at their schools.

Some 73.1 percent of the teachers don’t want followers of other religions to build their houses of worship in their neighborhoods, it found.

Some 85.6 percent of the teachers prohibit their students from celebrating big events perceived as Western traditions, while 87 percent tell their students not to learn about other religions.

Some 48 percent of the teachers would prefer for female and male students to be separated into different classrooms.

PPIM director Jajat Burhanudin said the teachers’ anti-pluralist views would be reflected in their lessons and contribute to growing conservatism and radicalism among Muslims in the country.

“I think they play a key role in promoting conservatism and radicalism among Muslims nowadays. You can’t say now that conservatism and radicalism only develop on the streets like what has been campaigned by the FPI (the Islam Defenders Front), but rather deep within the education (system),” he said, referring to a radical Islamic group.

Jajat said such intolerance threatened the civil and political rights of citizens of other religions.
The survey also shows 75.4 percent of the respondents ask their students to call on non-Muslim teachers to convert to Islam, while 61.1 percent reject a new Islamic sect.

In line with their strict beliefs, 67.4 percent said they felt more Muslim than Indonesian.
The majority of the respondents also support the adoption of sharia law in the country to help fight crime.

According to the survey, 58.9 percent of the respondents back rajam (stoning) as a punishment for all kinds of criminal and 47.5 percent said the punishment for theft should be having one hand cut off, while 21.3 percent want the death sentence for those who convert from Islam.

Only 3 percent of the teachers said they felt it was their duty to produce tolerant students.
With 44.9 percent of the respondents claiming themselves members of Nahdlatul Ulama and 23.8 percent supporters of Muhammadiyah, Jajat said the two moderate organizations had failed to establish their values at the grassroots.

“Moderation and pluralism are only embraced by their elites. I am afraid that this kind of phenomenon has contributed to increasing radicalism and even terrorism in our country,” he said.

Abdul Khalik, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Wed, 11/26/2008 7:06 AM | Headlines 

Ang Ladlad, pluralism, and lechon manok

Everybody is bashing the Comelec for refusing to accredit the Ang Ladlad as a partylist group of gays and lesbians for the coming elections. They accuse the Comelec of deciding on the petition on the basis of morality, which is beyond its authority and competence to decide.
That may be true, of course. But could the Comelec have acted otherwise? This country is not the kind of society some would like it to be. It was thus a very valid fear on the part of the Comelec that a far greater backlash would have swallowed it had it chosen to rule otherwise.
Let us not be too harsh on the Comelec by saying it overstepped its bounds as electoral overseer because if there was only some way the poll body could have avoided deciding on the Ang Ladlad challenge, that would have been the way it would have taken.
The Comelec did not relish the job of deciding on that petition. Unfortunately for the poll body, it was doomed from the first moment the Ang Ladlad set its sights on Congress. For there was only one way to take up that challenge, and that was by way of the Comelec.
Unfortunately for the Comelec, it is now reaping the whirlwind that is not of its making. For this controversy is not about Ang Ladlad per se. The real issue is so much bigger than the bill of particulars. The Ang Ladlad is just an incidental symptom of a larger mess.

The mess is rooted in the partylist system itself. The partylist system is the result of the pluralistic pretensions of a society that is not ready or suited for it. That is what happens when the politics of accommodation and pretense comes masquerading as open democratic space.
In the desire of the government of then president Corazon Aquino to be the exact opposite of what the Marcos dictatorship was, its so-called Cory Constitution introduced pluralism on the mistaken belief that this replaces oligarchy and repression.
So, never mind if the partylist system duplicates everything, from representation to compensation, for as long as the then Cory administration can bask in the mistaken illusion of pluralism, where every sector of every shape, color and persuation earns a place in the sun.
But Filipino mentality can stretch the idea of pluralism too thin. An apt microcosm of the folly of the partylist system is lechon manok, among other things, and how it has sprouted in every streetcorner of the land. Now there are more lechon manok stands than lechon manok eaters.

Use your car mats for the comfort of your car

Do not feel we've stepped on the mid-year 2010. Lots of changes, and also a lot of innovations that have emerged, which of course is expected to be useful for everyone. In the year 2010 we are spoiled with all the existing facilities, which makes everything much easier and more comfortable for us. The increase is most we can see during the passage of time is, the increasing number of owners of vehicles, especially cars. Almost in every house we find a car parked in their garage. Of course, this indication of an increased standard of living citizens of the world.

Today I will discuss the dependence of society on their vehicles, namely cars. Can not be denied again, that when this car became one basic requirement for most people, other than to facilitate all the activities, the car can also enhance their prestige in society, therefore, many people are willing to spend a lot of money to make the car they comfortable, and also reflects the owner.

But too often they forget to maintain the appearance, comfort, and cleanliness of their car, especially on the interior, they are more concerned with outward appearances. In fact, the interior is the most important part to be able to create comfort.

One of the tools that need to be added in the interior of the car is a car mats, because with car mats installed in our cars, we will be more comfortable, and also the cleanliness of our car floor intact. Especially for those who often do things that make them dirty floor of the car, this car mats solution. Especially at this time many car mats are available with all forms and styles, so that it can be adjusted to our tastes.

If you really want your car has an interesting view, and certainly convenient, it never hurts to try to put this car mats in your car. Because it will reflect your personal. Moreover, the price of the car mats is not too expensive, so you can still stylish, without having to spend a lot of cost.

President SBY guarantee civil rights citizens Tionghoa

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has pledged to ensure the fulfillment of people's civil rights and Tionghoa Confucius, according to Indonesian citizenship law.
"The government will ensure the fulfillment of civil rights and race Confucius Tionghoa accordance with the mandate of Law Number 12 Year 2006 on Citizenship of Indonesia," the president said in a National Lunar New Year celebrations at the Jakarta Convention Center, February 20 last.
About 6,000 people, including vice presidents, a number of ministers of United Indonesia Cabinet II and inter-faith leaders attended the event held Confucian High Council of Indonesia (MATAKIN).
The theme is taken "Once Promises spoken, four horses Could not Attract Back."
Lunar New Year celebration began in 2000 nationally since the late Abdurrahman Wahid, who is remembered as the father of pluralism - allowing a national celebration.
The President appealed to all parties involved to continue to improve the quality of service for civil rights for the people of Confucius and the community hard.
"Let me say once again in this reform era, there shall be no discrimination against anyone, including people of Confucius and the community hard. Tionghoa is an integral part of Indonesian citizens, "he said.
The President admitted, as head of state he was proud of the progress in fulfilling the civil rights of people of Confucianism, such as civil records for a marriage that in principle there is no problem. In fact, Confucianism education has also been regulated by the Regulation of the Minister of Religious Affairs.
"In the future I ask the Minister of Religious Affairs, Minister of National Education, Ministry of Justice and Human Rights, as well as all relevant parties, both the central and local levels, to continue to improve the quality of service for civil rights for the people of Confucius and Tionghoa," he promised.
President Yudhoyono also invited the whole Sino-Indonesian citizens to contribute to strengthen the unity and harmonious life and full of brotherly ties with other Indonesian citizens.
Meanwhile, chairman MATAKIN, Budi Santoso Tanuwibowo, which drew praise Wahid Presidential Instruction No. 14/1967, which prohibits people celebrate the Lunar New Year Confucius openly.
During President Megawati Sukarnoputri is set as the Lunar New Year holidays, and during the era of President Yudhoyono now civil rights people Confucius and Sino-Indonesian society has been fulfilled.
"We are grateful for all the rights of the people of Confucius, one by one have been resolved issues ranging from civil records, ID cards, religious education and citizenship law in Indonesia," he said in a speech Tanuwibowo.
In that event made special prayers for the late Gus Dur for his services for the people of Confucianism.

Christians and Muslims continue Wahid's message

More than 200 Protestants, Catholics and Muslims are committed to continue fighting for the pluralist message of former president Abdurrahman Wahid.
Damien Dematra, author of "A Million Hearts for Gus Dur" said at the meeting of 12 April and then "Gus Dur wants from us is to continue fight for pluralism."

Speaking before the participants, including 40 Catholics, Damien recognize Gus Dur has transformed himself into a pluralist.
Jalaludin Rahmat Muslim intellectual, Father Franz Magnis-Suseno, SJ and Father Antonius Benny Susetyo also gave their testimony at a meeting hosted by the young Christian.
According to Grace, Gus Dur is 'a Sufi intelligent, strong opinionated but humorous.'

Father Magnis-Suseno admitted that Gus Dur is a pluralist, 100 percent of the people of Indonesia and 100 percent of NU. She is grateful God sent people like him extraordinary.
Pastor Benny said that Gus Dur is devout, and consistent in fighting for human rights and the oppressed.

Church prayed for the tension softening Korea

The leaders of the Catholic Church in Korea invites people to pray so that the tension in Korea did not deteriorate.
President of South Korea cut its trade with the communist-controlled North Korea in retaliation for a torpedo attack by North Korea that killed 46 South Korean sailors.
"In the light of faith, we hope this will lead to national reconciliation, and we have to keep hoping. We need to pray for peace, "Fabiano said Choi Hong-jun, chairman of the Board of Laity Korea.
He said the tensions that emerged lately like throwing cold water on national reconciliation efforts.
Sinking Cheanon, South Korean warships, on March 26 in the Yellow Sea is the country's military defeat since the 1950-53 Korean War years. A torpedo from a submarine ditembakan North Korean ship sank, the international investigation team reports
Father Raphael Seo Jong-yeob deplores' economic attacks' from South Korean President Lee Myung-bak against North Korea, given the Commission for Reconciliation of Korean People of the Korean Bishops' Conference has planned assistance for North Koreans.
But now the plan was canceled following a confrontational policy toward North Korea. However, he welcomed the government's policy of not mengembargo assistance for children in North Korea.
South Korea is second largest trading partner of North Korea, after China.
Pastor Seo said that the North and South "should continue to pursue peace talks and reconciliation" and for that prayer is needed.

The Inner Game - Your Mindset For Positive Thinking

Let's start off discussing what a paradigm is. Simply put, a paradigm is basically the "noise in your head.," nothing more. An important distinction to make is, it's your noise because you put it there, not anyone else. That's right, your spouse, your boss, your parents, the economy, the person who just cut you off didn't put in there, you did. What you need to realize is that we all do this, every single human being who has ever walked the planet, except for maybe Jesus Christ, Mohammed, the Dali Lama and Gandhi. So, now you should feel a little better about yourself. The reason for this is because your paradigms are based on your past experiences and circumstances, so they're habitual. What that means is what you think, what you believe and how you act at a given point in time, is like flying a plane on auto pilot.
You don't even realize it, because you're not aware that you're on auto-pilot but that's what's happening. What Is Your Paradigm We started off saying that your paradigm is basically the "noise in your head." But where does that noise come from? Well, it comes from your past, right. It comes from all the thoughts you've thought, all the experiences you've experienced, the people you've met, loved, lost; all the good things and all the bad things that have happened in your life make up your paradigm. Most people attach meaning to their experiences. What you need to understand is, that it's what you do with all of these experiences that matters. Like saving information on your computer, how you register these experiences in your mind, over time will create either good noise or bad noise.
So you see, your paradigm is basically nothing more than a combination of the actions and results that we all experience based on our past. It is simply the sum total of our past thoughts, beliefs, habits, values and actions. However, don't under estimate the power of your paradigm. Based on your relationship with your paradigm, it becomes a road map for your life. If you have a good relationship with your paradigm, understand it, question it, relate to it, it will help you to attract good things into your life. On the other hand, if your relationship with your paradigm is non-existent or on auto pilot, it will just as surely leave you stuck in the mud. The bottom line is, most people spend the majority of their life living it on what I call "auto behavior," as in automatic pilot. They don't really think about what they're doing, they just habitually do it. Another term often used to describe our paradigm, is our "mindset." When we're not aware of our mindset and don't examine or question it, then for the most part we are operating "on auto-pilot." You see, we create our own mindset in our lives and over time our mindset creates us. Let's talk about this for a moment.
Based on what I learned in school, machines, engines and assembly lines work on automatic but not human beings. Machines aren't born with a free will to make choices and decisions, but we are. Yet, when many of us behave and live our lives on automatic, in essence we're giving away our free will and are basically declaring that we're no better or different than a machine. Talk about giving away the candy store. That's not how and why God created us. Change Your Life This is a good starting point for us to discuss what a paradigm shift is. Simply put, a paradigm shift is basically making the behavioral transition from your present state of behaviors and habits, to a set of new behaviors and habits. You see, before you can begin to change your life you must first be aware of your behavior and the fact that you're on auto pilot. For instance, before an alcoholic or drug addict can begin the process of cleaning up his or her addiction, they must first acknowledge that they in fact have an alcohol or drug problem that requires attention. The same is true for you and I in life; before we can change the outside, our results, we must first change the inside, our core belief system.
You see, people form habits and habits form futures. Simply put, a paradigm shift is about "new possibilities," it's about transforming your being, so that you no longer believe that you are the limitations of your past thinking, rather a being of new and infinite possibilities. A paradigm shift is about having the courage to depart from the world we've known, into a new world. Allow me to share with you a quotation by Robert Frost, and I quote "there is a time for departure, even when there is no certain place to go." Think about that for a moment before you read on. Once you are aware of your behavior, now you can begin to change who you are, to become who you want to be. This process will enable you to realize that your past is truly not your future. You see it works like this; you are your thoughts, change your thoughts and you change your paradigm, change your paradigm and you change your behavior, change your behavior and you change your life. So basically what we're saying is if you want to change your life, you must first change your paradigm.
James Allen says in As a Man Thinks, "many people are anxious to improve their results but are unwilling to improve themselves." Why People Fear Change Within our own identity, we each have both a True and a False Self. For many of you, the False Self dominates who you're being on a daily basis. Based on the False Self, you know yourself as you relate to that false person, the power and possessions that that person identifies with and thinks they own or control. These objects or things that you derive your identity from are threatened whenever the individual is confronted with change. The reason is because in the moment, that individual feels that he or she may lose themselves, as their identity is not who they are but who they think they are, as well as their power and possessions. Because the Self is attached to external circumstances or things, once you feel that something will be taken from you, you fear losing the thing, as well as yourself, so you fear the change.
The False Self is scarcity based. On the other hand, the True Self welcomes change because the True Self see's change as representing the growth of who they're being in their enlightened spirit. Their identity is not attached to outside influences or circumstances, rather to who they are Being in the moment. They embrace change because they have faith in the Universe and believe in the abundance and prosperity that the Universe has to offer. Their belief systems are not conditioned and based on past paradigms of fear and scarcity, rather love, grace and blessings. Where love exists, there can be no fear, therefore the True Self does not fear change. Your Paradigm Shift Simply put, a paradigm shift is about "new possibilities," it's about transforming your being, so that you no longer believe that you are the limitations of your past thinking, rather a being of new and infinite possibilities. A paradigm shift is about having the courage to depart from the world we've known, into a new world.
Allow me to share with you a quotation by Robert Frost, and I quote "there is a time for departure, even when there is no certain place to go." Think about that for a moment before you read on. In order for you to be willing to do the necessary work to make the changes you want to make, you will need to have a strong level of desire, motivation and intention. You must create a purpose that you feel so passionate about, you can feel the shift in how you see the world. A purpose so grand, so powerful, that nothing or no one can deter you from achieving your purpose. This will fuel you to make the necessary sacrifices you will need to go into action. What you are doing here, is creating new positive and powerful paradigms, that will support your dreams and intentions versus hinder and sabotage them.
You see we all dream but a dream without a plan is only a dream; likewise a plan not put into action is only a plan. Success is not based on who you know or what you know, it is based on the depth of your belief in yourself and your purpose. Will you fear your new journey, yes, initially you will, I know I did. But as time passes and you travel down the road in search of your new life, your enthusiasm will carry you forward. Next, as you realize that the changes you've made have freed you of the shackles of your past paradigms and that a new life is truly possible, your dreams begin to soar. Like a child on a brand new bike, your joy and excitement will take you beyond your doubts and fears; you will begin to realize that you can in fact "ride that bike" and that success and happiness are possible. This discovered reality will become your new found friend on your journey through life. Cause and Effect I'm sure you've heard of the terms "cause and effect." Well, cause and effect are like a master diagram for your behavior.
If you behave a certain way, you're going to get certain results. If you want to change the effect, you first have to be aware of and change the cause. Based on your mindset your thoughts are your basic cause. I've had so many people say to me, "Larry, I really want to change my life." But what so many people tend to do, is attempt to manipulate the effects in their life, without first addressing the cause. Many people attempt to change their results without ever changing their paradigm. When you shift your mindset, you begin to change your thoughts and behavior, once you make that internal shift, the world around you starts to change; it's like playing a new game with a new set of rules. Look, I can honestly tell you that I've been there, done that. I want you to realize and understand that everyone experiences this in life; you're not alone and you're not some freak. Remember what we talked about early on i.e. life is ten percent what happens to you and 90 percent what you do with what happens to you.
That is the key difference between those who change their lives and those who do not, nothing more. If I did it, so can you! Once you get this concept, the monkey is off your back. As a matter of fact, you can leave him at the zoo where he belongs. You'll also leave your baggage at the checkout desk on your way out the door, as you begin your journey in search of your life's purpose and passion. You will feel so energized, so enthusiastic, so in love with who you are, that you'll hardly recognize yourself or your behavior. What use to seem like mountains and unsurmountable challenges, will suddenly seem like bumps in the road. You discover a belief and faith in yourself that you never new existed, although it was always there; but because you were on auto-pilot, you never had the chance to find it. The difference is that you've shifted your mindset; your now present, present to life and all the power that resides in it, all the power that resides in you.

Pluralism and Modern Christians: Exclusivism in an Inclusivist World

When we encounter people of other faiths--Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, Jews, Baha'is, etc.--observing their obvious devotion to what their religious convictions and the inner peace they seem to have and the gentleness, it makes us want to make a place for them in the kingdom of God. Our Western culture promotes pluralism of all kinds--racial, ethnic, political, and religious. Anyone who argues for one Way as the exclusive way of salvation our society opposes, ridicules, and fears.
Of course, God, in His sovereignty, may choose to save anyone He wants. In the exercising of His wisdom, justice, and mercy, He certainly has the prerogative that human judges often exercise: of allowing for extenuating circumstances and the attitude of the defendant. What's more, He can factor in the confluence of a multitude of cause-effect relationships wholly unknowable to humans. We are confident that if He makes such allowances, they will be decisions that will only serve to magnify His holiness, His grace, and His righteousness.
We are not in a position, however, to second-guess or to make reliable predictions about what He will and will not do in His role as Judge of All the Earth beyond what He has revealed to us. Biblical history yields examples when He granted pardons (2 Sam. 12:13; Ps. 32:1-5; Jonah 3:10) or overlooked shortcomings and failures (2 Chron. 30:17-20; 2 Kings 5:15-19), but it also reports that at other times, He demanded exacting obedience and punished failures to comply to the smallest detail (Lev. 10:1-7; 2 Sam. 6:6-7).
It is not for us to attempt to predict, much less to demand, what He will do or choose in specific cases. Our task is only to proclaim what He has revealed in His Word. Jesus Himself said, "No one comes to the Father except through Me" (John 14:6). His apostle, Peter, restated the same principle: "Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12). Paul adds: "In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent" (Acts 17:31).
For us to grant even hypothetical pardon to anyone who has not responded to the gospel of Jesus Christ seems tantamount to calling Jesus (and Peter and Paul) a liar. If He is truly my Lord--if He is truly yours--we cannot call Him a liar or contradict His express statements. We must, instead, obey His call to "Disciple all nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you" (Matt. 28:19-20). If that makes us Christians exclusionists, so be it. If that means our stance is a stumbling block to the world, that's all right. The cross has been a stumbling block and foolishness to an unbelieving world throughout the entire history of Christianity. Yet, to those who are being saved, "it is God's power and God's wisdom. For the foolisness of God is wiser than man's wisdom and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength" (1 Cor. 1:24-25).