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Monday, 4 January 2010

Debating Allah.

I am usually not impressed by attempts to fight ideas using forms of force. Collecting signatures, a large number of them and posting them on cyberspace to apply force and pressure the authorities, is one of them.

Sloganeering is another form of the application of force.

To me, these approaches are just recourse to using force in a different form. How do you debate against herd instincts? What's the difference between these kinds of retorts with street demonstrations? One occurs on the streets, the other on the highways of space.

But that does not mean, using such means is less effective. They may have a direct impact in forming public opinion. Well, to each his own.

Personally I would prefer the presentation of arguments, thoughts etc. It doesn't matter if your arguments are labeled bigoted. You make attempts to fight within the realm of ideas.

Hence I can relate easier with bloggers who are willing to put out their necks arguing one way or other with their viewpoints. Gopal Raj Kumar is one of them. Donplaypuks is another.

Then there is Wenger J Khairy.

He has not written specifically on the Allah issue but has written in a few comments on my website. I would like to share them with other readers.



Wenger J Khairy said...

I agree with your point of view and as a Christian disagree that the term "Allah" should be used to represent the God in the Christian faith. The term is Elohim, which is a word that subscribes the divine nature of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit and is not synonymous with "Allah."

The right way for the Church is to understand the root word "El" - a Semitic term that is shared by the Arabic and Hebrew language. When in the Psalms

This whole issue could have been resolved if the Catholic Church were to refer to what Christ said just before he died on the cross.

"Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani"
which is a quotation from the Psalm 22.

In that the term he used was
Eli, Eli (or Eloi, Eloi).

This was Jesus talking to the Father. Christians can only communicate to the Father through Jesus. Anything else is not Christianity and is a heresy.

The Muslim term for God is Allah, the Jewish translation is Elah. From my limited search, the only time Elah is used is as Elah Yisrael meaning God of Israel, a specific name of God. The predominant term used to describe God is Elohim because the foundation of the Christian faith is that Jesus Christ is God and is the Intercessor between the Father and man, and the Holy Spirit is given to believers in Jesus.


And I also do not consider the Catholic Church as representative of the Christian faith. But that is really a discussion for another time and place.

Really, the Catholic Church should have done its homework. Research the etymology of the meaning of the term "Allah" and understand that it is not applicable when the Christians accept the Trinity as the basis of the faith.

Furthermore, the original language of Christianity is the Hebrew language for the Old Testament, and the Greek language for the New Testament. Arabic is never in the picture.

I do hope the Church in Malaysia and the respective Bibical Scholars speak up on this one.

This is a time to be heard.

It is not scoring brownie points and it is not necessary nor desirable for God's name to be shared between the Islamic faith and the Christian faith because as a Christian, it is totally incompatible.

I have said my piece.

4 January 2010 13:17

Wenger J Khairy said...

Unfortunately Dato' I have locked myself out of my blog and cannot make this into a posting.

In some matters I respect the Muslims because they clearly know the difference between the Islamic faith and the Christian faith that the Christians accept Jesus Christ as not only the Son of God but God Himself, but the Muslims do not.

This distinction is very very clear and there is no desire for me as a Christian to have this distinction blurred one bit.

The Muslims know this very clearly and it is surprising that the Church cannot seem to grasp this fundamental and important difference that is obliterated if the Church uses Allah to refer to God. Furthermore it has 0 Biblical foundation.

The Bible was written originally in Hebrew and Greek. In some aspects the Muslims are better off in the sense that people study about the Koran in its original language which is Arabic. For Christians, Biblical scholars throughout the ages have translated the Hebrew and the Greek into English and other languages. The work was meticulous and in some cases, the Hebrew was preserved especially when referring to the Names of God - for example Elohim as there is no analogous example in the translated language.

When translating the Bible into Malay or Arabic, there should be just as much care put into it. If no analogous word for the Names of God is present in Arabic or Malay, use the Hebrew or the Greek.

After all, we cannot see God but we can only perceive Him and trust in Him. Its not a case of pointing and saying "this is God".

So it is an exercise in faith as opposed to a noun description. And without faith, there is no such thing as Christianity.

I hope you can figure a way to publish my comment to show that this move initiated by the Catholic Church is NOT AT ALL supported by me. Let the Christians learn from the Muslim more about their faith.

4 January 2010 13:39

11 comments:

Anonymous,  4 January 2010 at 19:11  

The original bible was written in Aramic (not Hebrew) .. Eli Eli Lama sabachtani is in Aramic language, an almost extinct language spoken only by older person in remote villages in Syria.

Are You Gonna Go My Way,  4 January 2010 at 19:15  

very well said Wenger.....very well indeed..

unfortunately this reasoning cannot be brought to court...the court only wants to know if using ALLAH in the herald could lead to creating disharmony, not the history of the bible.

it has to be discussed among the Christian authority and decide among them. Use some sense, rule with the heart and imagine making 1 million Catholics happy at the expense of another unhappy 20 millions Muslim. Is that what Jesus taught the Catholics to do? Hurt the feelings of fellow human being. Show us that Jesus had taught you well and voluntarily decide not to use Allah in the publication.

Wenger J Khairy,  4 January 2010 at 19:44  

Are You Gonna Go My Way,
In this case, really I am disappointed that the Christian church kept quiet. For what?

Zero basis and I hope the Muslims can shame them because every single discussion, even people like Parpukari makes the distinction clear.

So in some regard, my respect for Islam is increased. Perhaps its because the Muslims believe the Quran and read it so the Quran makes the distinction clear, and because faith is an important part of their lives, in fact some say, that faith defines the Muslim Malay, they do not want to have it changed by a bit.

If these guys so called "Christians" who are shouting their heads off on this issue bother to pray to God, they will get the answer. For Jesus Christ says, the things that create pride and resentment is not from God, its from the Devil.

I hope I can do more, really but now that is what I can do which is to give all the facts to the Muslims so that for any so called Christian who says that Allah should be used in the Bible, they can put them to shame.

Of course if they know shame-lah

As to Anonymous 19:11
What are you talking about? Read here Hebrew Bible. Only a few books were written in Aramic - Daniel , Ezra and few other places. It was written in Aramic because the Jews were captives of Babylon first and the Persian empire later. They were captives because they did not pray to God. They claimed they were praying to God, but in the prophet Isaiah, God clearly said, your prayer is worthless and asked them to repent.

As to the saying of Jesus refer to this
Of the seven sayings of Jesus from the cross, it is the only saying recorded in Matthew and Mark; it is the only one that appears in two, parallel accounts. This saying is given in Aramaic with a translation (originally in Greek) after it. This phrase also appears on the opening line of Psalm 21 (Psalm 22 in the Masoretic Text). In the verses immediately following this saying, in both Gospels, the onlookers who hear Jesus' cry understand him to be calling for help from Elijah (Eliyyâ). The slight differences between the two gospel accounts are most probably due to dialect. Matthew's version seems to have been more influenced by Hebrew, whereas Mark's is perhaps more colloquial.
The phrase could be either:
אלי אלי למה עזבתני [ēlî ēlî lamâ azavtanî] (Hebrew);
אלי אלי למא שבקתני [ēlî ēlî lamâ šabaqtanî]; or
אלהי אלהי למא שבקתני [ēlâhî ēlâhî lamâ šabaqtanî]


For me, I have to now pray to ask God's forgiveness for having His people be accused of causing hurt to others in His name.

My apologies to all on behalf of all the Christians that should have spoken up but kept quiet and my thanks to all Muslims who fight this. I hope the courts change this decision for it is wrong and peace and tranquillity is restored to our country.

rem 4 January 2010 at 21:39  

tok sak,
some people can argue and debate their way out of anything. it doesn't mean they are right all the time.
but others are not as clever with words so they form facebook groups or organise demos (plus those with political agendas of course).
yet to many others, their pretty fat cat with the bushy tail has been killed by a neighbour who go-stan his car without looking properly. it is time for rage, not intellectual debate.
as u said, though, to each his own.

Anonymous,  4 January 2010 at 22:34  

Dato, please may i say thank you to Wenger J. Khairy.
I have two Catholic friends who are equally dismayed by this and wondered why the matter was even taken to court.

AA

Anonymous,  5 January 2010 at 06:41  

Wenger;

Jesus preached to the Jews in Aramaic not in Hebrew or Greek.

The bibles according to John,Luke, Matthew and Mark were written centuries after the demise of Jesus.They were not disciples of Jesus neither they were eyewitness to the events surrounding Jesus.

And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, "Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?" that is to say, "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" (Matthew)

I believed Jesus did not meant to call Elijah as Elijah was not his God. Interesting you did mentioned
"ēlâhî ēlâhî lamâ šabaqtanî"..Google this and you will find "Elahi" is Aramic for My God .

WJK,  5 January 2010 at 08:32  

Anon 6:01,
What is your point? The issue is whether you agree or disagree with what Dato and myself is publicly stating who both Muslims and Christians respectively disagree with the choice of Allah being used in the Bible.

Whether the saying is in Aramaic or in Hebrew, to those who do not speak Aramaic or Hebrew, you make it out to be a huge difference.

Ok since your an expert, please write the body of the response to this in Aramaic and conclude in Hebrew.

Which you cannot.

And when the prophet wrote Isaiah 42:8
""I am the LORD, that is My name; I will not give My glory to another, Nor My praise to graven images""

a) was this written in Hebrew or Aramaic?
b) What does the saying translate to and mean in Hebrew?
c) What does the saying translate to and mean in Aramaic?
d) What does the saying mean in English?
e) What does the saying translate to and mean in Bahasa Melayu?

It is very clear, Muslims are appalled that Christians want to refer to God of the Bible by a name that is identifiable around the world as that of the Muslim faith.


Which is smack against what is written in Isaiah.

Furthermore, the Christians who are supporting this want their East Malaysian brothers and sisters to use the Muslim name for God whilst they use the names written in the English translated versions of the Bible.

Rather than debate you on a secondary point, as the purpose of me quoting from what the Lord Jesus Christ said was to show clearly that Jesus DID NOT call God the Father Allah.

If I indeed got the language wrong, sorry.

Now please answer my questions and at at least give a nickname. Dato knows who I am.

Who are you?

Anonymous,  5 January 2010 at 18:08  

Sorry Wenger if my response to you somehow is provoking you; that was not my intention.

My intention was only to correct your statement that the Bible as conveyed by Jesus to the Jews was in Hebrew and Greek.It was Aramic.I hope you agree with me on this.

I agree partly with your opinion and Dato' that Christian and Muslim should use different name for God. I say partly if the Christian insisted on trium God but if the Christian believe in a single God (just like the Unitarian Sect),the Christian are welcome to use it.The Jews also are welcome to use it as the Jews believed in a single God.

Since Catholics believed in trium God, ALLAH name shall not be used by the Catholics.Thus my stand is consistent with you and Dato'.

Thanks

WJK,  5 January 2010 at 19:29  

My apologies if I sounded off the handle, its been a tough couple of days.

Richard Cranium 8 January 2010 at 11:23  

As much as you try to say this is not a political issue, people have wised up to all these dirty tactics. If racial instigations don't work, let's try religion. It was the cow-head, and now this?

After the governmental ban, instead of taking it to the courts, what would you have suggested the Archibishop do? Organize an armed conflict?

All this could have been resolved amicably with a delegation of respected non-politicised imams working together with the other religious faiths in something like an inter-religious council.

But no, we'd rather air all this in the public square. Make some blood boil, and if it results in some civil strife, so much the better. We need to snatch back the power we lost in the last election, don't we?

Sheesh. The sheer stupidity of all this.

Anonymous,  10 January 2010 at 00:01  

Cranium? Richard Cranium? You mean THE Richard Cranium? THAT Richard Cranium? THIS one?

Oh holy father Pio Mama Mio! Where have you been, you son of a gun? How come you never called?

Marking Bagpie

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