Christians are often derided as narrow-minded prigs who are virulently intolerant of competing ideologies. Many fail to realize that atheistic paradigms have themselves been guilty of gross intolerance and conversion by force.
Tonight, I heard the story of Hin, a Christian who found himself on the wrong side of the Viet Cong when Vietnam fell to communism. He was imprisoned and force-fed a steady diet of Marx and Engels each day. Many are familiar with Marx’s famous quote about religion being the opiate of the masses. Some may not know that Marxism actually views religion as an instrument of oppression used by the bourgeoisie to keep the proletariat under its heel. In Marx’s dialectical synthesis, the victory of the proletariat results in a classless society that is free from the shackles of any faith perspective. This is why people of faith suffer cruelly in communist revolutions and governments; it was also the impetus behind the attempt to reprogram Hin. Stalin’s purgings and the current persecution of the underground church in China are both examples of the practical outworkings of atheistic paradigms.
Atheists frequently take offense at this assertion, which I find both ironic and amusing, since they are wont to derive a certain amount of glee and pleasure from throwing the likes of the Crusades and the Spanish Inquisition in Christianity’s collective face. Well, atheism has its own inquisitions and crusades to answer for, and that, my friends, is incontestable. Either way, saying that people who called themselves Christians or atheists committed evil acts doesn’t prove or disprove either worldview. It simply amounts to an ad hominem attack that only serves to tick people off.
In any case, on a day when Hin had finally given up and chosen to let go of his faith, he was ordered to clean the latrines in the prison camp. There, as he toiled in the midst of filth and stench, he saw a piece of paper on the ground. Although it was smeared with human excrement, Hin was able to discern that it had English words printed on it. He took it, washed it, put it in his pocket, and when he was alone that night he read the following words:
And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)
One of the officers in the prison camp was using the pages of the Bible as toilet paper.
This one page of the Bible was so precious to Hin that he went the next day and asked to clean the latrines. For weeks thereafter, Hin willingly braved his foul daily chore in the hope of finding more of the Scriptures. Every page Hin found was soiled with waste; he cleaned and treasured them all. Eventually, he assembled the entire book of Romans and other parts of the Bible. And there, in that place of despair, a crushing, oppressive, atheistic government’s best efforts to recreate a believer’s heart in its own image were subverted and overthrown by the King of Kings.
I am moved by Hin’s story. I have multiple copies of the Bible. Do I treasure them as much as Hin did? Would I, if I ever found myself in a similar situation, be willing to muck around in human waste just because it might afford me an opportunity to possess a page of the Bible? Is the Word of God that precious to me now?
Here is portion of a message given by one of my favorite Christian authors and speakers, Ravi Zacharias. At about halfway through the clip, he starts sharing Hin’s story. It’s worth a listen:
aka The MonT-SteR