Sunday, March 26, 2006

An American Taliban?

"Bigotry and intolerance, silenced by argument, endeavors to silence by persecution, in old days by fire and sword, in modern days by the tongue" ~ Charles Simmons

I have very strong feelings about the plight of Abdul Rahman, the Afghan citizen who is currently in jail in Afghanistan, and facing execution for the crime of being a Christian. But, possibly for the first time, I am at a loss for words. I can't seem to articulate exactly how I feel. So, here is another opportunity for my readers to look inside my somewhat chaotic mind and watch my thought processes develop, as it were. They are developing, hopefully, as I type.

To begin with, I am thinking what a courageous man this is, to stand firm in his faith in the face of religious persecution, knowing that he will very likely be put to death just because he chooses to believe in Jesus Christ.

But is it courage or faith? I think it is faith.

Then, I wonder how I would react in similar circumstances and I must confess, I don't know, and the very fact I don't troubles me deeply.

I also don't know how I feel about the fact that President Bush seemingly has no plans to step in and involve himself in this matter, and do something, anything to free Mr. Rahman. And now, I'm re-reading that last line and I'm thinking, "Some of my readers are going to think I've totally lost my mind if I don't know how I feel about this."

But the fact is, to intervene in this case would be dictating how another country prosecutes it's own laws. Afghanistan was freed from the tyranny of the Taliban by the United States and our allies, and a new democratic form of Government was installed. But that government has it's own Constitution and it isn't the same as ours. Their Constitution does not mandate separation of church and state. Islam is the official state religion there. That's a fact.

Mr Rahman has violated the official law of Afghanistan by refusing to practice the state religion.

So, I don't know how I feel. On the one hand, it is absolutely a tremendous injustice, and on the other hand, I think the Afghan Government has the right to execute this man if it believes he has broken their laws.

I had promised myself I won't get into theological matters on this blog anymore as it leads to confrontation and strife regarding certain doctrines of various faiths and, as we are seeing in Afghanistan, religion can be a very explosive emotional issue. But I can't help recalling what Jesus Christ had to say about religious persecution. That it is to be expected and we should glory in the fact that we are persecuted for His name's sake.

I recall how the early apostles were persecuted and jailed and tortured for their faith and for preaching the gospel. They would kneel and pray and sing hymns in their jail cells, and upon release (if they were not put to death right away) would go on their way rejoicing that they had been found worthy of being persecuted for their belief in Jesus Christ.

My mother, who is a devout Christian, and Sunday School teacher, wrote a short play one time (for her Sunday School class) based on the question, "If it were illegal to be a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?" Mr. Rahman apparently has demonstrated that, beyond a doubt, there is enough evidence to convict him.

So, now you know where I get my penchant for writing short plays to illustrate points from time to time.

Another thing that occurs to me at this point, and I know I will get some flack for, is this:

I believe this is what America is coming to. There are organizations in America actively campaigning to remove every last vestige of Christianity from America, and will not stop until the word, "Christian" will be an archaic word, with which no American will be familiar.

There are the various Atheist organizations, obviously, that would like nothing better than to eradicate Christianity entirely. But there are other organizations that seemingly have the same purpose, but have a more subtle, but equally oppressive agenda. Like Americans for the Separation of Church and State and the ACLU, to name a couple. There are many more. Some more radical than others. Yet all of them seem dedicated to bringing about what can easily be described as an "American Taliban".

This could be the beginning of the end. Or, more accurately, the oft repeated phrase, "The End Times", as described in the books of Daniel and Revelations and mentioned in various other books in the Bible.

For many Americans, there is a belief that the apocalypse is at hand. Some believe it has already arrived, here, in America. But I don't. As I stated, I believe it could be the beginning of the end, but it is not the end. Not for America.

But certainly for Abdul Rahman.

Which brings me back to the question I would ask of my Christian readers, and to myself:

If it were illegal to be a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?

Because soon, it may be.


Erudite Redneck said...

Honesty rules, dude. It's OK to not be sure about everything.

Just a couple of comments:

You'd be less feverish if you realized that no government should ever have the right to execute its own citizens -- ever.

And, of course, you know I see the role of the ACLU and Americans United way differently -- and that I thunk you have it exactly backwards.

Their zeal to keep the government of this country purely secular is a defense AGAINST the "American Taliban" that the likes of James Dobson and other religious conservatives would set up if they could.

Only the bureacracy surrounding faith thrives under government approval. Christian faith itself thrives in the hearts of men and women when the government is indifferent or even hostile to it. Not that I would ever want hostility. But I do want my government to remain utterly indifferent to matters of faith, neither encouraging it not discouraging it -- leaving it alone, which is what freedom means.

Mark said...

James Dobson and other religious conservatives only want the freedom to practice their religion freely, according to the 1st amendment to the Constitution. They do not want to create a state religion.

Americans United and the ACLU seek actively to suppress that freedom.

Dan Trabue said...

I'm glad you're taking in to account national sovreignty and not immediately jumping on the "Let's invade/re-invade Afghanistan again and set him free" bandwagon.

Yes, we all ought to be working for his human rights to be recognized. AND we ought to be doing so for the cases in Cuba, Colombia, China, the Congo, Sudan, North Korea, the Phillipines, Morocco, the United States, etc, etc, etc - everywhere that human rights are being violated, we ought to be working to end the oppression.

Having said that, when we consider all the places where in some form or another and to someone's way of thinking or another, human rights are being violated, I think it becomes clear that we can't bomb everyone into an end of oppression (would we bomb ourselves?!)

We must work on improving diplomacy and international laws and procedures, not only because it's moral, but because there is no other way to deal with human rights oppression short of a global nuclear holocaust (which, of course, would be an oppressive act itself).

Mark said...

I don't know, Dan. Sometimes I think that the only way this world will be healed is if there is a thermo-nulclear holocaust. I suppose that sounds harsh, but as long as there are differing beliefs and religions in the world there wil never be true peace.

The apostle John ended the book of Revalations, and the Bible, with the phrase, "Amen, Come Lord Jesus." That is the only solution to the world's problems.

Erudite Redneck said...

War is peace. Love is hate. Black is white. You are wrong. I am done.
:-P ...

Now, I'm off to catch up with the preachin' from my lefty church on-line, since I was out of town weekend before last and lazy last Sunday, in preparation for church this morning.

This will blow your mind: He's preachin' from the Bible -- AND Jimmy Carter's new book, "Our Endangered Values: America's Moral Crisis." Carter, of course, is no candidate for office and is fair game for use from the pulpit.

Erudite Redneck said...

Not harsh, Mark. Totally insane.

The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

I think the Afghan Government has the right to execute this man if it believes he has broken their laws.

I think the pressures and public outcry is all that you can do. If this is the way they choose to run their country, then Christians need to get out. Leave or die.

If it were illegal to be a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?

No....but as the "most Christian non-Christian" you've ever met, as you've described me, I'd probably get plenty an ass-whoopin'.

And yes, the ACLU is on a secular jihad of religious intolerance that goes beyond what is stated in the First Amendment. And as a non-religious citizen, radical atheistic fundamentalists piss me off.

Mark said...

The sad part is, Smithy, there are way too many of us Christians that wouldn't be convicted based on the evidence. And I fear that might include myself.

The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

when we consider all the places where in some form or another and to someone's way of thinking or another, human rights are being violated, I think it becomes clear that we can't bomb everyone into an end of oppression (would we bomb ourselves?!)

Of course diplomacy is the first resort and violence the last. But in naming some of those countries where real suffering and devastation is taking place due to the brutality of the regime in it really so compassionate of us to use only diplomacy when diplomacy isn't working? If we really were interested in doing things strictly from a humanitarian standpoint? If we were to weigh the costs in lives, which would be a greater loss of lives? Stepping in and risking lives to save lives? Or allowing lives to be lost over endless diplomacies?

I'm not advocating anything here, as it applies to other countries in the real world, unless they are a threat to us, directly. I'm just extending the discussion you and I are having elsewhere.

Erudite Redneck said...

Dude, re:

"there are way too many of us Christians that wouldn't be convicted based on the evidence. And I fear that might include myself."

Me, too. That's why we plead the blood of Jesus.

Jesus -- not "a" church. Jesus -- not "the" church. Jesus -- not a political party. Jesus -- not a parachurch organization. Jesus -- the Son of Man. Jesus -- the Son of God.

Jesus. Just. Jesus.

Peace. You and I have to agree on Him.

You and I got into this week, and it was mainly my fault. I had heavy, heavy things weighing on me -- so heavy they dang near squoze my faith to nothing. Forgive me. I'm off to church. Peace. 1 Corinthians 1:10 means "look to Jesus."

carrier said...

Afghans do have secular laws, but Islamic law overrules. So by intervening on Mr. Rahman's behalf, not only would we be attempting to dictate their constitutional law, we would be dictating religious law.

Keep in mind that Mr. Rahman would not be the first individual to die for his faith. In fact his death may provide the spark to ignite an interest in Christianity among the people of Afghanistan. Many religions have roots in martyrdom, including of course Christianity.

One more thing Mark, it isn't Christianity the ACLU is attempting to eradicate, the mission is to impede the proliferation of all religion into the workings of state government.

And really, do you think that this country could ever be wiped clean of religion? In most towns there are churches on nearly every corner. Many politicians at every level of government practice some religion or another. Not to mention that the general public...whether faithful or not...would ever stand for the elimination of at least the right to worhsip.

You know how we feel about our right to make choices, good and bad.

Lone Ranger said...

I'm sure the ACLU would be ok with executions if a doctor punched a hole in the base of the condemned's skull and sucked out his brain. They couldn't call it cruel and inhumane because it's done to partially born babies nearly every day. More hypocracy from the liberals. Tell you what, let's make a deal. We'll stop executing about 58 vicious killers every year if you stop aborting 1.5 million innocent babies. Any takers?

As for Rahman, the charges have been dropped. But I don't give him much of a chance out on the street. It was his own parents who turned him in. It wouldn't surprise me if his own mother slit his throat in his sleep. That's faith too in that culure.

jgf said...

For myself, I can only pray that I would be strong enough to stand firm in my belief in Christ Jesus.

ELAshley said...

There's enough evidence to get me reported. Only the local District Attorney and a jury of my peers can answer whether or not I'd be convicted.

And I agree. Our only recourse in this is to express our opposition, and pray. But as I read elsewhere this morning, it's kinda hypocritical for America to voice outrage over Abdul's plight, while quietly rolling over on issues like Abortion and Homosexuality here.

Gayle said...

As far as I am concerned the ACLU is the worst thing to ever have happened to this country. They are now attempting to remove "a moment of silence" out of Texas Public Schools. Anyone who tells me they are not vile is not aware of the damage they are doing to this country.

A moment of silence can be used by anyone any way they choose. To pray to whomever the choose, to not pray, to twiddle their thumbs, or to doze! But someone might just silently pray to a Christian God! Horrible! We musn't allow any chance of that happening!

I consider the ACLU and everything it stands for an enemy, and it has been since it's conception. After all, it was founded by people with communist affiliations. Not too long ago I researched and posted about the wonderful founders of the ACLU.

Good post Mark. As always.

Jim said...

Your original post was going along just fine, and I had no argument...


"There are organizations in America actively campaigning to remove every last vestige of Christianity from America, and will not stop until the word, 'Christian' will be an archaic word, with which no American will be familiar."

This is patently false. It's just plain false. Nobody, outside of radical Islamists, wants to remove every last vestige of Christianity from America. It is false accusation. There are many groups, including many mainstream Christian groups who wish ONLY to preserve the first amendment by making sure that one religious doctrine is not favored over others by any government.

And I've never heard of an atheist who wanted to eliminate Christianity altogether. Atheists want only to be able to practice their non-religion in the same way Christians want to practice their religion without having someone else's religion pushed in their face or favored by the government.

Erudite Redneck said...

Anyone who hates homosexuals and who wants to make white slaves out of women -- how do you square that with what Jesus has said? Not what YOU say. Not Paul. Not James Dobson.

What did Jesus have to say about homosexuality? What did he have to say about abortion, for that matter?

Anyone who takes a conversation about Christain faith and mentions "issues" -- even controversial moral dilemmas like abortion and what the church should do with homosexuals (love them) has changed the subject.

There's a culture war on all right -- and the first casualty was Jesus Christ Himself. He is crucified anew every time someone confuses "issues" with Him.

Erudite Redneck said...

Oh, I have no doubt that "Christian" will become an archaic word -- because of "Christians" who put politics, culture, even the fate of this country, over Jesus.

One reason among many that I increasingly call myself a Jesusian, not a Christian.

Mark said...

Well, Jim, obviously you don''t take into account the fact that atheist organizations are capable of lying about what their ultimate goal is. After all, since they are atheists, they have no moral reason to tell the truth. About anything. And they would never admit they want to eradicate Christianity. That would be public relations suicide, but their actions speak louder than words.

Look at what Gayle said, Now that they have successfully prohibited prayer in schools, they are attempting to remove the moment of silence as well. They will not stop until they have eradicated Christianity.

No, they want to destroy Christianity. There's no doubt of that.

Carrier, You are right. they will not suceed, but since they haven't read the Bible or at least don't believe the Bible, they think they can. We Believers have read the book, and we know how it ends. We know they will fail, but they will keep trying.

Mark said...

ER, You asked, "What did Jesus have to say about homosexuality? What did he have to say about abortion, for that matter?"

Jesus is God. Jesus said "he that has seen me, has seen the Father. Jesus IS God, God IS Jesus.

God wrote the Bible. Hence Jesus wrote the Bible. God says, in Leviticus, and Deuterotomy, and in Romans, and in other books, that Homosexuality is an abomination to God. He does not say that He hates homosexuals. Quite the contrary, He insists that He loves all men including sinners. A homosexual does not commit the sin of homosexality unless he gives in to the temptation to engage in it. It is possible to hate the sin and love the sinner. I truly do hate the sin but not the sinner. I have no trouble at all making the distinction in my mind and heart.

Since God and Jesus are one, Jesus does say homosexuality is a sin.

He also says it is a sin to kill babies within and without the womb. That is in Leviticus as well, I believe.

Sorry. The two social issues which I feel most strongly about are abortion and homosexuality. No one, but no one, besides God Himself will ever convince me I am wrong on these issues. If one wants to fight to the death with me about anything, just challenge me on either of those two issues. You will get your wish.

Erudite Redneck said...

Thus sayeth Mark.

Thus sayeth NOT the Lord.

I fundamentally -- to borrow a word -- and loudly declare that what you just wrote is idolatry, anti-Christian and, well, just wrong.

If you don't understand the notion of the Trinity, and the Old Testament versus the New Testament, any better than that, you need to go back to Sunday school. :-)

Lone Ranger said...

Still wishing for that rollercoaster camera at the gates of Hell.

Dan Trabue said...

"Now that they have successfully prohibited prayer in schools"

Not just atheists. Many Christians have stood opposed to prayer in schools. We do so for at least two reasons.

1. We believe in separation of church and state and prayers in school rub us the wrong way, and

2. We don't want some stranger who may or may not believe what we believe saying a meaningless prayer or a prayer that is opposed to our theology.

Finally, as a matter of fact, prayer has not been banished from school. No one can stop anyone from praying. What has been often banished (but not always) are public, teacher-led or established prayers.

Sometimes public established prayers by students have been stopped and I'd probably be opposed to that notion, depending upon the circumstances because, as I said, no one can stop anyone from praying.

Erudite Redneck said...

Then you're still eaten up with hate, then, aren't you, LR?

"That hate's gonna burn you up, boy."

"Keeps me warm," LR said.

Dan Trabue said...

"God says that Homosexuality is an abomination to God."

The bible says many things are an abomination, including shrimp. Are you opposed to everything the Bible says is an abomination? The Bible in Leviticus, after calling "men laying with men" an abomination, says that the men in question should be stoned. Shall we take that literally?

Two same sex individuals in a committed relationship is covered exactly zero times in the Bible. There are roughly 12 times where homosexuality seems to be mentioned, but generally it is referring to temple prostitutes (male) or rape (as in Sodom and Gomorrah).

Beyond that, there are a handful of times where homosexuality seems to be mentioned, but the word is often an unclear one for translators. And, as has been pointed out, Jesus never mentioned it and the Bible never talks about committed same-sex couples in a loving relationship.

I agree fully with taking the Bible seriously. For that very reason, for a long time, I was opposed to the very notion of homosexuality as you were. But serious investigation in to what the Bible actually says, made me change my mind.

For what it’s worth.

Sheila said...

I'm possitive I would be convicted out right and I'm one of your lefties Mark.

By the way, ABC just annouced his Stay of Execution. The Lord Works in Mysterious Ways.

By the way, I afree with ER.

Sheila said...

I believe I meant, I AGREE with ER.

Hey ER, where's that Church!

Mark said...

I don't know about a camera at the gates of Hell, LR, but it would be interesting to see the looks on some faces when they stand in front of their Creator at the last judgement and try to explain to Him in what ways He was wrong about what He said.

Lone Ranger said...

I dont' hate anyone,redneck. Not even you. I think some people are a source of endless humor. It would just be hilarious to see all those smug looks wiped off the faces of people who think they're smarter than God. I have to admit to being a bit smug myself. It doesn't take much button pushing to make a liberal start name-calling and spewing insults. They're so predictable.

tugboatcapn said...


I cannot believe you just said that.

Apparently, you believe that you alone, of all the people in the world, have the right to use Jesus for political purposes.

Your hypocrisy has grown by leaps and bounds ever since you started attending that 'crazy Lefty" church that preaches from the scriptures of Jimmy Carter...

I sincerely hope that you are headed for a "Damascus Road" experience of some kind.

I will pray that the Lord goes easy on you...

Jim said...

Mark said,

"Well, Jim, obviously you don''t take into account the fact that atheist organizations are capable of lying about what their ultimate goal is. After all, since they are atheists, they have no moral reason to tell the truth.

Mark, that is the most asinine pile of horse manure I've ever read here, and I've read a lot.

I'm a Christian, but I know that you don't have to be a Christian or believe in God to be moral or to tell the truth. To say otherwise is simply bigoted ignorance.

This administration is quite "capable of lying about what their ultimate goal is." And they claim to be Christians.

Mark said...

Jim, I didn't say they would lie. I said as atheists, and not having a moral compass, since God is our moral compass, they have no moral reason to tell the truth. They will often tell the truth because they realize it is the best thing to do, but that doesn't mean they wouldn't lie to hide their true agenda, as you say Bush did. In fact, I'm sure they know that America would turn on them if they made it known they want to eradicate Christianity. Of course they would lie to cover that up.

Lone Ranger said...

I'm sure we can settle this dispute if someone would just post the Atheist Moral Code. I'm sure you can find it hanging on the wall of any atheist hospital, orphanage or charity.

Erudite Redneck said...

Tug, when you do more than leave a drive-by potshot at my joint, I'll engage you.

Sheila, I don't know what part, peractly, you agrred with, but thanks. Come to my place, sometime! :-)

Jim, yer pissing in the wind. And, yer being kind.

LR, if you think me smug, I apologize. Because the main thing I know is I don't know nothin' -- except Jesus and Him crucified. I apologize, too, for taking Him at His words, as best as I can -- and not confusing His words with an unthinking equalization of what HE said with what ANY of His followers ever said. Including the writers of Scripture.

To all y'all,
If you worship the Bible, yer not worshiping God. If yer not thinking, yer insulting God's creation of yerself. If you think only Christians have a "motal compass" -- WHY do you think that? That's just an assertion. Make an argument.

To all y'all again: Come over to my place. We do hook it up at the Erudite Roadhouse. But ER Hisself is an unabashed Jesusian.

Erudite Redneck said...

Oh, and LR. There will be no settling of this "dispute" until Judgment Day.

And I'll fall on my face and declare my helpless ingnorance and beg for the mercy of the blood of Christ -- while you, apparently, based on what you've written here and elsewhere, will stand with yer fellows in the heavenly cloakroom and wait for yer reward for yer anger and hatred and pride and judgmentalism.

I'll take my chance on my face.

drlobojo said...

You know Tim McViegh believed up until his last moment of consciousness, that he had done a rightious thing in blowing the crap out of a whole bunch of people including the kids in a day care center. I'm sure that he followed some interesting twist of logic on his way to those murders. That day, five minutes after the blast, as I checked on our 125 employees in the Journal Record Building next door, I walked through the blood of hundreds of innocent people.
My crepe sole shoes soaked up that blood and filled with bits of broken glass. At the end of the day I simply took them off and threw them away.
Tim was a desperate man who was called to his actions by what ever deamons he mis-identified as God's messengers to do that act. He never questioned them. He never doubted them.
I feel as though some of Tim's confusion has crept into this blog.
Best be testing the spirits as commanded, before acting on what you believe they are telling you.

Poison Pero said...

I understand what you are saying, Mark, but think you are missing the reality of the situation.

Islam isn't compatible with Western ideas........They could care less what we want, and just because we freed them from the Taliban, Sodom, etc., doesn't mean they are going to become Westernized.

The region is semi-barbaric, and the religion is completely barbaric.

I'm thrilled we have bases and troops in Afghanistan and Iraq (hope they are permanent), and am in no way convinced either will ever become a democracy as we know it......Let alone civilized in a Western sense.

Christians in the region should pick up and have a mass exodus out of there.......I'm shocked they've lasted this long, and their days are numbered if they choose to stay.

Jim said...

That doesn't cut it, Mark. Your whole idea that atheists would lie because they have no moral compass is horse manure. God is YOUR moral compass. Fine. My moral compass, as a Christian, is that I know the difference between right and wrong.

To suggest that an atheist has a propensity or willingness to lie BECAUSE he is an atheist is without factual basis, is slanderous, and is bullshit.

drlobojo said...

Poison Pero said:
"Christians in the region should pick up and have a mass exodus out of there.......I'm shocked they've lasted this long, and their days are numbered if they choose to stay."

Point of interest, Christians have been in "the region" for about 2000 years. They were Christian churches in what now is Iraq and Iran long before there were mosque. They are not however of the modern ilk. They have kept to their culture and are far from evangelical. The real law broken in this particular Afganistan case is the law against "prostelization", a law that has been enforced against native Afganies as well as Foriegners for 1,400 years.
It is all a very complex place.
In America we look for straight forward simple answers to problems. That is an unheard of concept in the middle-East.

Erudite Redneck said...

This was one hell of a long and interesting thread for a Sunday. Markus, I salute you!

Mark said...

Jim, you know the difference between right and wrong because the first man and first woman defied God and ate the fruit, after the serpent told them if they ate the fruit their eyes would be opened and they would be "like God", knowing good and evil. Look it up. We sin because they sinned. Just eating the fruit was not the first sin. Disobeying God was. The real sin is rebellion. Atheism is rebellion against God. The atheist believes himself to be God himself. Therefore, whatever morals the atheist has, he has imposed on himself, and as such, he reserves the right to change them on a whim. And if he decides on the whim that lying will advance his personal agenda, since he has no God, he therefore has no one to hold him accountable for his actions, thus, he has no moral compass except that which he imposes upon himself. And that, as I said, he can, and probably would change, according to how it benefits himself.

When everything, including truth is relative, and it is, according to the atheists, then there is no moral compass.

Dan Trabue said...

"We sin because they sinned."

Mark, I'm no theologian or anything, but unless I'm mistaken about Christian orthodoxy, we sin because we choose to sin. We sin because God gave us the ability to choose and we sometimes choose wrongly. Not because of anything Adam and Eve may or may not have done.

Wouldn't you agree?

Dan Trabue said...

As to your final statement "If everything is relative, then there is no moral compass."

I'm not so sure that is a valid point.

1. I don't know that all atheists believe in subjective truth, ie, that everything is relative.
2. Even if they do, this does not mean there is no moral compass.

For instance, suppose I'm an atheist. I don't believe in God. I do believe, though, in living right. I define that as Doing unto others as I'd have them do unto me (I know atheists who gladly believe the Golden Rule, as it is a very intuitively righteous way.) Is this not a moral compass?

Erudite Redneck said...

No, Dan, it's not. Didn't you see? Mark said it wasn't. So, it's not.

Come on. Keep up.

Jim said...

Well said, Dan.

Mark, you don't have to give me Bible lessons, and you have no basis to suggest that I had no basis for knowing right from wrong before I became a Christian.

As Dan said, the Golden Rule is intuitive and provides an excellent moral compass.

Dan Trabue said...

"If it were illegal to be a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?"

A final thought. What does the above mean? What does it mean to be a Christian?

Does it mean a church-goer who has "made a profession of faith," been baptized and joined a local congregation? OR, does it mean one who believes in and tries to follow Jesus' teachings (Love your enemies, turn the other cheek, go the second mile, do unto the least of these, etc)?

Jesus had a comment on this question. He told the story about the two brothers who were asked by their father to do an errand. The first said, "No, I won't," but eventually did what the father asked. The second one said, "Yes, father" but did not do as asked.

Jesus then asked his listeners, "Which of the two did the will of his father?"

It's a fairly straightforward question, actually. Just as Jesus reiterated in the story of the sheep and the goats - where the goats who failed to do to/for the least of these were cast away in torment while the sheep who did for/with the least of these were welcomed in to paradise.

And the only difference between the sheep and the goats is what they did, and didn't, do.