Food for thought from a chain letter

Let’s say you know this guy who has something of a history: A couple of people who were on record of having made fun of him or talked bad about him all came to an early end. One of them was gunned by an assassin who fired six shots. Sounds scary, doesn’t it? What kind of a person could that be, a ruthless gang boss, maybe? You might fear that kind of person, but would you love him? Probably not.

Yet that seems to be how some Christians view God.

Through my work against online scams and spam I come into contact with a wide variety of people of many different backgrounds and viewpoints. Some of them add me to their circle of contacts to whom they occasionally forward all kinds of mail, from jokes to chain letters.

Here is one such email I received today:


Death is certain but the Bible speaks about untimely death!

Make a personal reflection about this…..

Very interesting, read until the end…..
It is written in the Bible (Galatians 6:7):

“Be not deceived; God is not mocked:
for whatsoever a man soweth,
that shall he also reap.

Here are some men and women
who mocked God :

John Lennon (Singer):

Some years before, during his interview with an American Magazine, he said:

“Christianity will end, it will disappear.
I do not have to argue about
that. I am certain.

Jesus was ok, but his subjects were too simple, Today we are more famous than Him” (1966).

Lennon, after saying that the Beatles were more famous than Jesus Christ, was shot six times.

Tancredo Neves (President of Brazil ):
During the Presidential campaign, he said if he got 500,000 votes from his party, not even God would remove him from Presidency.

Sure he got the votes, but he got sick a day before being made President, then he died .

Cazuza (Bi-sexual Brazilian composer, singer and poet):

During A show in Canecio ( Rio de Janeiro ),

while smoking his cigarette, he puffed out some smoke into the air and said: “God, that’s for you.”

He died at the age of 32 of AIDS in a horrible manner.

The man who built the Titanic

After the construction of Titanic, a reporter asked him how safe the Titanic would be.

With an ironic tone he said:
“Not even God can sink it”

The result: I think you all know what happened to the Titanic .

Marilyn Monroe (Actress)

She was visited by Billy Graham during a presentation of a show.
He said the Spirit of God had sent him to preach to her.
After hearing what the Preacher had to say, she said:
“I don’t need your Jesus”.

A week later, she was found dead in her apartment .

Bon Scott (Singer)
The ex-vocalist of the AC/DC. On one of his 1979 songs he sang:
“Don’t stop me, I’m going down all the way, down the highway to hell”.

On the 19th of February 1980, Bon Scott was found dead, he had been choked by his own vomit .

Campinas (IN 2005)
In Campinas, Brazil a group of friends, drunk, went to pick up a friend…..
The mother accompanied her to the car and was so worried about the drunkenness of her friends and she said to the daughter holding her hand, who was already seated in the car:

“My Daughter, Go With God And May He Protect You..”
She responded: “Only If He (God) Travels In The Trunk, Cause Inside Here…..It’ s Already Full ”

Hours later, news came by that they had been involved in a fatal accident, everyone had died,
the car could not be recognized what type of car it had been, but surprisingly, the trunk was intact.

The police said there was no way the trunk could have remained intact. To their surprise, inside the trunk was a crate of eggs, none was broken .

Christine Hewitt (Jamaican Journalist and entertainer) said the Bible (Word of God) was the worst book ever written.

In June 2006 she was found burnt beyond recognition in her motor vehicle .

Many more important people have forgotten that there is no other name that was given so much authority as the name of Jesus.

Many have died, but only Jesus died and rose again, and he is still alive .


P.S: If it was a joke, you would have sent it to everyone. So are you going to have courage to send this?.

I have done my part, Jesus said

“If you are embarrassed about me,

I will also be embarrassed about you before my father.”

You are my 8 in 8 seconds. I am not breaking this. No way!

I’M TOLD THIS WORKS!!!!! Bishop T.D. Jakes “8 Second Prayer.” Just repeat this prayer and see how God moves!!

“Lord, I love you and I need you, come into my heart, and bless me, my family, my home, and my friends, in Jesus’ name. Amen.”

Pass this message to 8 people {EXCEPT YOU AND ME}. You will receive a miracle tomorrow. I Hope that you don’t ignore and let God bless you .

The John Lennon quote in the chain letter is not accurate. If you search Google for that wording, all you find are copies of that chain letter. According to the Wikipedia article on Lennon, he had said the following to a friend who interviewed him for an English newspaper in 1966:

“Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink…. I don’t know what will go first, rock ‘n’ roll or Christianity. We’re more popular than Jesus now. Jesus was all right, but his disciples were thick and ordinary. It’s them twisting it that ruins it for me.”

He later explained that with this comment he was talking about how young people in England were taking a greater interest in the Beatles than in Christianity and that he did not try to compare the Beatles to Jesus or God:

Well, originally I pointed out that fact in reference to England. That we meant more to kids than Jesus did, or religion at that time. I wasn’t knocking it or putting it down. I was just saying it as a fact, and it’s true more for England than here. I’m not saying that we’re better or greater, or comparing us with Jesus Christ as a person or God as a thing, or whatever it is.

The real issue for me is not the accuracy of the supposed Lennon quote though. It’s the qualities ascribed to God that bother me. If someone insulted me in a newspaper interview, I would not go out to make sure they met an “untimely death”. That is not how civilized people deal with people who offend others. Is God more primitive than us?

When I was reading the Bible I never came across anywhere in the New Testament where Jesus threatened he would have anyone bumped off for showing disrespect towards him. The Old Testament is quite different: Under its laws, death was mandatory for many offences, ranging from adultery to showing disrespect towards one’s own parents or working on Saturdays. Those laws are no longer binding to Christians, but that doesn’t seems to have changed how some Christians see their God as someone who likes to take violent revenge.

Thinking about this attitude, I can’t help but feel some sympathy for Lennon when he said about some of Jesus’ followers who distorted his message: “It’s them twisting it that ruins it for me.”

Our site got hit by a Denial-of-Service attack

From November 9 to November 19 two of our domains were unter attack by cyber-criminals. Due to a Distributed Denial-of-Service attack (DDoS) involving thousands of remote controlled zombie computers directed from a secret control centre, some of our sites were inaccessible for several days.

First we received an automated warning email from our webhost, which gets triggered if a certain amount of traffic per hour is exceeeded. I started blocking IP addresses of hosts with an excessive number of connections using iptables in Linux, but could not keep up: The server became unreachable. I was left with no choice but to pull the emergency brake, i.e. to replace the IP address of the server with a non-routable IP address such as (loopback address).

I then moved the affected website to a backup server and reenabled it there. The new server was running a later Linux kernel than the old one. If you get DOSed, make sure you have Linux kernel 2.6, which is more suitable for reconfiguration to make it more resilient against such attacks.

After a number of days, other hosts names on our server that had not been disabled were also added to the list of attack targets.

As a result of the tweaks on the new server the sites stayed up most of the time, but the bandwidth usage was tremendous. During one hour the attacking bots generated more than 31 GB of traffic. On that peek day the traffic on that server came to 152 GB, even though we added over 4000 different IP addresses of attacking hosts to the blocklist.

Clearly, anyone who doesn’t have an unlimited traffic allowance for his hosting account would be in trouble with such huge numbers, even if the machine and operating system were able to keep up. Once they exhaust their monthly allowance they would either have to start paying for extra Gigabytes or the server gets disconnected, or the network speed gets throttled down, which would make the site virtually unreachable.

After 10 days the attacks started winding down. By that time we knew where the control center of the botnet was located. It was hosted by a company called AbdAllah Internet Hizmetleri in Turkey. Its upstream provider is TurkTelekom. The IP address range used by the hoster is listed by anti-spam site as being used for “Ukrainian/Russian cybercriminal hosting”.

During or shortly after the attacks against our servers, the same botnet also attacked the following sites:


This target list ranges from an anti-spam website (ours) over an evangelical church site to sites related to adult videos.

Distributed denial of service attacks are a mortal danger for any website. There are few effective countremeasures, except load sharing with many fast servers connected via fat data pipes, but even that is no match for some of the largest botnets such Storm. Attacks are used to intimidate, to silence or to extort “protection money”. Victims have little hope of getting effective help from law enforcement.

What needs to happen? First of all, the number of infected computers needs to decrease. Unsecured broadband hosts that come under criminal control are a public menace. Webhosts need to take effective action against botnet control centres. Unlike the actual bots, which are mostly running Windows XP, most of the botnet control centres run on Linux servers in data centres. Hosters must not turn a blind eye to this. If they do that because of money from criminals then their upstream providers must disconnect them.