(Minghui.org) Over 2,400 years ago, 70-year-old Socrates was sentenced to death in Athens, Greece. He was accused of opposing the old gods of the state, trying to introduce new gods and corrupting the minds of the youth. However, he had only been guilty of talking with young people on the streets, discussing philosophy and inspiring their ideals.

Later, when the Athenian authorities realized their mistake, they tracked down those who had accused Socrates. Consequently, some of those found guilty were exiled and others were sentenced to death. Socrates was then posthumously hailed as “the most intelligent person of ancient times.”

Two thousand years ago, when Jesus returned to his hometown to preach, the local people asked doubtfully, “Is not this the carpenter’s son?” They did not respect him and tried to drive him away, as described in the Bible:

“When they heard this, the people in the synagogue were furious. Jumping up, they mobbed him and forced him to the edge of the hill on which the town was built. They intended to push him over the cliff, but he passed right through the crowd and went on his way.” (Luke 4:28-30 NLT)

Yet today, magnificent churches can be seen everywhere around the world, and hundreds of millions of believers sing Jesus' praises.

Two thousand years have gone by since then. The world is changing, and so are human beings. But Jesus' words still ring true – indeed, “the prophet is often unpopular in his hometown, but is respected elsewhere.”

In mainland China, the Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) persecution of faith and defamation of saints has reached an extreme degree in its persecution of Falun Dafa, a brutal persecution that has persisted since 1999. Newspapers, radio and TV stations frequently publish and broadcast slanderous programs about the practice. The portraits of Mr. Li Hongzhi (the founder of Falun Dafa) were thrown to the ground and people were forced to walk over them, and his books were crushed by trucks and burned to ashes. According to incomplete statistics, in just half a year, the CCP’s media published as many as over 300,000 defamatory articles against Falun Dafa both at home and abroad, and hundreds of millions of Chinese people have been brainwashed by the lies.

The truth is that Falun Dafa, taught by Mr. Li Hongzhi, is the Buddha Fa, which reveals that the universe is not only something physical, but also has its own qualities: the qualities of Zhen, Shan, Ren (Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance). These principles are imbued in all forms of physical existence, and any cultivator who is able to become one with these universal qualities is an enlightened being. Mr. Li is teaching people a higher truth, guiding people to know this truth, and yet he has been slandered and defamed by the CCP regime.

Outside of China, Mr. Li Hongzhi has received praise and honors around the world, and Falun Dafa has also attracted much attention and is warmly welcomed.

For example, Falun Gong practitioners held a large group exercise demonstration and a magnificent parade across the heart of New York City in May this year to celebrate World Falun Dafa Day. They also received over 100 congratulatory letters from politicians from various levels of government.

In Canada, politicians from all three levels of government send congratulatory letters every year on the World Falun Dafa Day in praise of the merits and positive effect of the practice.

Falun Dafa has now spread to all parts of the world including Hong Kong, Taiwan, Russia, Spain, Germany, Switzerland, Australia and many other countries. China is the only country where Falun Gong is being persecuted.

Two thousand years ago, in Jesus’s hometown, some people wanted to drive him out, and others wanted to push him over a cliff. Though he was preaching the truth and saving people, people refused to believe him; they despised him, drove him away and eventually put him to death. However, two thousand years later, the same Jesus is being honored as a savior and worshipped.

Of course, there also people who still think that all these are only imagined legends. This may be part of the process by which some people come to recognize enlightened beings. Many people who stubbornly refuse to listen to reason may take thousands of years to recognize the wisdom of the Divine.

Today’s people seem to be treating Mr. Li Hongzhi in a similar way as those who mistreated Jesus at that time. In his homeland, Mr. Li Hongzhi is being cursed and threatened, while elsewhere he is respected and honored.

The truth will always shine through. I hope that more and more people will learn the truth instead of letting the truth pass by. Grasp the precious opportunity and don't miss it – opportunity knocks but once.

In the past 19 years, Falun Gong practitioners, while under severe persecution themselves, have never stopped clarifying the truth to the people around them who have been confused by lies. Saving people is the long-cherished wish of the Buddha School and an act of great kindness. But such acts of kindness have been grossly distorted by the CCP and labeled as “anti-Party,” “playing politics” and “creating rumors.”

Falun Gong practitioners are unlawfully arrested and abused by the CCP to this day. In 2017 alone, as many as 1,097 Falun Gong practitioners were illegally sentenced to prison.

Falun Gong practitioners are tortured by cruel means, including force-feeding with water laced with hot peppers, injection with harmful drugs, beatings and other forms of severe corporal punishment.

What is happening today is so similar to the situation two thousand and four hundred years ago when Socrates was accused of opposing the old gods of the state, of trying to introducing new gods and corrupting the minds of the youth. But he was only discussing philosophical ideals with young people in search of truth.

The persecution of Falun Gong practitioners is more severe and brutal, however. Socrates was forced to end his life by drinking poison while Falun Gong practitioners are being tortured so cruelly to the point that living becomes more unbearable than death.

When the Athenian authorities sought to rectify their mistake, those who had accused Socrates met their due punishments.

Today, Falun Gong practitioners spare no efforts in clarifying the truth to people, in an attempt to persuade the perpetrators to stop doing evil. They hope that the Chinese people will not repeat the same mistake and will not bring harm to themselves and to others. They hope that the Chinese people will not be an accessory to the CCP’s crimes so that they can avoid retribution and disaster.

Where is the truth? You need to see it with your heart and find it with your soul.