The Case for God – Part 3

In the previous installment I discussed the concept of Trinity to explain how it undermines the divinity of God according to Christianity, thus making the application of the name Allah for a such God an overkill and not appropriate for the actual meaning of Allah.

As mentioned in the previous installment, too, I find the argument that Allah is the common denominator for God in this region a joke. The common denominator in the Indo-Malay speaking world would be Tuhan instead of Allah. However, Allah is the term that is inside the Quran for as long as time can remember. I cannot say the same for the Bible as it no longer reflects the Old Testament. Anyhow, you cannot find the name Allah inside the Old Testament. Just a Hebrew name that does not even resemble both the Arabic and Roman spelling of Allah. Even so, Elohim as called by the Jews, refers to The God that has no Son, nor an equivalent called the Holy Spirit. Mind you, even the Jews are totally against the concept of deifying a human being. I am sure my wife’s Iban relatives who are Christian would understand the term “Tuhan” without any problem since Bahasa Malaysia is derived from the Malay language, and the term for God in Malay is Tuhan.

We have seen the subtle tactics of missionaries of those days in the first installment and how their modus operandi is now refined by present-day missionaries. This blogger had had the opportunity to meet up with Muslims proselytized during the month of Ramadhan of 2012 and was told of the very fine and subtle methods used to proselytize Muslims in Malaysia. Back in the late 19th and early 20th century, the Malay people were not only bombarded with the Malay Bible, but also Christian publications in Malay such as Buletin Ariffin, Cermin Mata, Sahabat and Warta Melayu. Little has changed, but made only better. Recently, Johor’s Department of Islamic Affairs, together with the Home Ministry, confiscated 250 Christian literature in the Malay language. Imagine these books having titles such as Kaabah, Mengenal Rasul and Wahyu Illahi. With the state of Johor having around 58 percent Muslims, 2 percent Christians, and 40 percent other religions, who were these Malay literature targeting? Ibans? Christians? Chinese? Read more about the attempt to proselytize Muslims in BigDog’s post.

So, what about the use of Allah by Christians in Indonesia, Egypt etc.?

Tell me how good has that been for Indonesia and Egypt? How well do the Muslims and Christians get along in those countries? The very reason we do not have beheading of Christians in Kelantan or lynching of Muslims in Sarawak is because we do not step on each others toes.

But I guess, for the purpose of gaining support and diverting the attention of voters from issues currently plaguing the DAP so close tot the next general elections, Lim Guan Eng raised the “use of Allah in Bible” issue again. And the Muslims in the Pakatan Rakyat chose to keep quiet about it except for the MP for Parit Buntar, Mujahid Yusof Rawa who questioned Guan Eng’s motive. I suppose for most PR Muslims, it is okay for Muslims to be proselytize as long as they get to wrestle power from the present government. To cloud the vision of their supporters from their internal issues of corruption, cronyism and nepotism, they decided to rally the support of the mostly Chinese Christians by raising the Allah issue again, knowing very well it would somehow hurt the relationship between UMNO and the Christians within the Barisan Nasional. I hope no fool would fall for this treachery.

What is the purpose of using the name Allah in Bibles, having a Malay Bible, and Christian publications in Malay if not to proselytize the Muslims? With all due respect to my Christian friends, why hasn’t the Vatican been using Allah or Elohim? Why do they stick to the name they know? And what is the most familiar term for God here in Malaysia if not Tuhan?

Like I mentioned in the first instalment. I am called John, and wherever I go, I will still be called John. No one in Germany would call me Johann, no Arab would call me Yahya, no one in Sweden would call me Jan or Jon. So, if your common denominator is Tuhan, call as it is. Not adopt from some other language. Or else, I would question why aren’t you calling God “Deus.” Please don’t fall for the politics of hate propagated by those who are irresponsible.

We have been living together, respecting each other for more than five decades peacefully except for one dark moment in 1969. Let us not let the political ambition of some to destroy the peace and prosperity that we have maintained for so long.

May I remind the Christians, in particular the Catholics about what is mentioned in the Catholic Encyclopedia about Allah:

Let it be noted that although Allah is an Arabic term, it is used by all Moslems, whatever be their language, as the name of God

If you still cannot see that, then there will soon be trouble in this peaceful nation. So, who is not respecting who?

The Case for God – Part 2

In the previous installment we see the difference in how Christianity was spread throughout the Indo-Malay world. In this installment, we discuss the concept of Trinity and why some Christians now continue to reject it.

Allah The One God

Since Allah is the common denominator to refer to God in the Arabic-speaking world, why is it then a problem for Malay Muslims to accept its use in the Malaysian Bibles?

First of all, the common denominator for God in the Indo-Malay speaking world is Tuhan, not Allah.   Like mentioned in paragraphs above, the general Christian world believes in the Trinity where God is the Father, God is the Son, and God is the Holy Spirit.  Muslims have a problem here thinking that this is all about polytheism, but really in technical terms it is not.  But neither is it monotheism as the Jews and Muslims hold on to.  In the Trinity concept, while God is all those three persons, the Father is NOT the Son or the Holy Spirit; the Son is NOT the Father or the Holy Spirit; neither the Holy Spirit is the other two.  It is the concept of one deity in three persons.

The problem with Muslim scholars in Malaysia is that their studies are so focused on Islam that they fail at comparative religious studies and often make opinions based on what they think is being practiced in other religions.  How many other Muslims read the Bible to know that after the publishing of the King James Bible in 1611, there have been other versions including the “new version”, the “children version”, and the “American version” (I’ll call them KJV in short)? How many know of the various changes made to God’s words in the Bible that appears in the KJV of today?

Mind you, the KJV was translated and printed by Thomas Nelson Publishers.  In 1969, the publishers was purchased by Sam Moore, who started by selling Bibles door-to-door to finance his pursuit of a medical degree.  He vowed to make Thomas Nelson the leading publisher of Bibles again. In 1976, he initiated the creation of the new Bible translation calling it the New King James Version (NKJV) that propelled Thomas Nelson back to the number one spot.

Hence, the NKJV Bible is more a human dogma than a collection of divine words.  Some versions has had the word “He” changed to “It” to accommodate a politically-correct gender-unbiased view.  Personally, I would use “It” to refer either to things that are not alive, or to beings other than the human.  The Quran, on the other hand, has never been changed, and the divinity of its content unquestioned.

The concept of Trinity was also alien to some Christians.  It was during the First Council of Nicea in 325AD , the first ecumenical council of the Church that was convened by the Roman Emperor, Constantine I, that an attempt to get the Christian world to agree on the divinity of Jesus Christ.  The main topic was to discuss the teachings of a Christian presbyter in Egypt called Arius, who focused on Godhead, which emphasized the Father’s divinity over the Son.  He endorsed the following doctrine:

  1. That the Son, or the Word (Logos) and the Father were not of the same essence (ousia);
  2. That the Son was a created being (ktisma);
  3. That the worlds were created through the Word, then he must have existed before all time;
  4. However, the Word did not exist, before he was begotten by the Father.

For his belief, and for refusing to sign the Creed and accepting the divinity of Christ, Arius and two other Church leaders were banished, prompting others to sign.  One must remember that Emperor Constantine I was never a baptized Christian until he was on his deathbed and the word ecumenical means world, in reference to the Roman Empire dominating what they saw was the world to them.

The Arian church lives on in some parts of the world, notably in the Eastern Christianity domain, the Oriental Orthodox.  Due to the differences, the Church of Rome and the Orthodox Church were no longer in communion, although rivalry between the two have all but diminished since the Great Schism, but the latter still rejects the dogmatic definition published by the Pope, or by an ecumenical council, and also rejects the Council of Chalcedon.

The introduction of  the Filioque by the Western Church into the Latin version of the Nicene Creed without holding a council or gaining consent from the Eastern Churches contributed greatly to this schism. The Filioque is a phrase that states the Holy Spirit as proceeding from “the Father and the Son”, while the Eastern Churches have always held on to the fact that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father, and has the same status as the Son.

As such, God the Father in this concept does not qualify itself to be interpreted as Allah to be used in the Bible. God, as portrayed in the Trinity concept, does not stand, and cannot stand alone.  The concept of God as a Supreme Being that exists even before time does not seem to hold true when it comes to the Christian interpretation of God, and although the Jews, Christians and Muslims are people of the book, only the Christians have created God as an image, whereas, especially in Islam, God is beyond human comprehension.  Simply put, if you think that it is impossible to imagine God, even that imagination and thought come after His creation and is still nowhere near describing Allah.  Both the Jews and the Muslims reject the hypostasis nature of God as projected by the Christians.

Therefore, in my humble opinion, and without prejudice to my Christian friends, God the Father should be Tuhan Bapak; God the Son should be Tuhan Anak; and God the Holy Spirit should be Tuhan Ruhul Kudus.

In my next installment, we will have a look at the common denominator and what has become of it, and what I think of this whole issue.

The Case for God

I am called John.

John F SeaDemon.

I may be called Yahya or Yahya Shaitan al-Bahri  if I were in an Arab country somewhere, but I doubt John F Kennedy would have been called Yahya F Kennedy had he gone to Saudi Arabia or even Egypt.  In fact, he would still be called Jack…or John.  But for some Christians in Malaysia, especially in the Peninsula Malaysia, God is called Allah. Maybe it is time for me to address the Logos behind the Theos in this theological subject.

The Language behind Allah

There has been many attempts at explaining the origin of the name Allah, and the similarity the name has to the Jewish word, Elohim (Elochim).  Allah is derived from two distinct Arabic words: Al (The), and Ilah (God), to describe the Supreme Being, the One God, and the word Allah, in Arabic takes a masculine form.

The Hebrew equivalent would be Eloah.  However, Eloah is the female word for God.  In order for the name to have a masculine form, the name Eloah is given a plural form, -im, making it masculine.

However, the Catholic Encyclopedia does not recognise Elohim as the Hebrew word for the God of Israel, but says that it could have been referred to an earlier polytheistic culture’s deity.

In Arabic, a female form of Allah would be Al-Lat.  Interestingly, Al-Lat during pre-Islamic times refers to one of three goddesses (female) whose shrine and temple was built in the city of Taif in Saudi Arabia.  She was a daughter of the Supreme God, Allah, along with her sisters Manat and al-Uzza.  Here you can see that even polytheistic pre-Islamic Arabs had a Supreme God called Allah.  Hence, if you ask me, an equivalent of Al-Lat in Hebrew would be Eloah, and not The One Supreme God. You can clearly see the difference between Elohim and Allah. While the former had to undergo a gender transformation, the Arabic word Allah is free of grammatical structure and corrupted meanings.

Of course, Christians in Malaysia argue that Allah is a common denominator for God for both Arab Christians and Muslims.  We’ll come back to that in a while.

The Local History behind Allah

Let us remember one thing.  Malaya (Peninsula Malaysia) was never colonised as a whole by the British, save for Penang, Malacca, and Singapore, while Sabah and Sarawak came under direct British colonial rule. Penang was acquired through a deal to lease the island made between the British East India Company and the Sultan of Kedah; Malacca was acquired from the Dutch through the Treaty of Bencoolen; and Singapore was included in the Treaty of Bencoolen by making the severely weakened Dutch to not object to the British occupation of Singapore.  The people of these three places, together with Sabah and Sarawak, became British subjects.

Through treaties with the Sultans on the Peninsula, the British helped administer the State of the respective Sultans, while the Sultans remained as the supreme head of these sovereign states.  The administration of Islam came under the purview of the respective Sultans as the protectors of the state’s religion.

So, why does Indonesia have Bibles that use the word Allah to describe God?

Unlike Malaya, Indonesia was a nation of conquered people.  Hello! Remember the Dutch?  When Douglas MacArthur met Emperor Hirohito, he purposely stood next to the Emperor to show the Japanese people that the Emperor was not a demi-God.  Victors get to do as they please, and this is probably the same case as the Ladang Rakyat issue in Kelantan.  The Dutch conquered parts of Indonesia beginning in 1595, and as part of its attempt to call the Malay diaspora in Indonesia to Christianity, the Book of Matthew was translated into the Indonesian language in 1629; and where the Dutch set foot, other religions were formally prohibited although Chinese temples as well as mosques remained in existence.

Missionaries, too, made headway in Sabah and Sarawak, converting the populace to Christianity.  Sir Stamford Raffles recommended to Rev. Thomas Raffles (Buitenzorg, 10th February 1815, Mss. Eur. F.202/6) that Borneo be given vigorous campaigns by the missionaries as “the island is inhabited by a race scarcely emerged from Barbarism.”

This does not mean that the Malays were free from attempts to proselytize them.  In fact, Raffles, in a letter to his cousin in 1815 mentioned how “Religion and laws are so united” in Muslim dominated areas that the introduction of Christian beliefs will bring about “much mischief, much bitterness of heart and contention”.

Raffles contended that Christianity must be packaged in a new form and be conveyed to the Muslim majority through a gradual approach. The “pagans”, on the other hand, required no stratagems.  His methods include the establishment of missionary schools where the Malays are taught to read and write in their own language.  Then he set up printers to publish books in Malay.  Missionaries were largely responsible for this effort with the help of local agents, and the most famous of these agents was a chap called Abdullah Abdul Kadir who is better known as Munshi (Teacher) Abdullah.  He and other Munshis taught Christian missionaries the Malay language.  His role went beyond that and became the first Muslim in South East Asia to translate the Bible into the Malay language, that he became the target of his contemporaries who called him Abdullah Paderi (Pastor Abdullah) among other things.

It is interesting to note, however, that Raffles never once attempted to convert Malays in the Federated and Unfederated Malay States where the Sultans rule and guard the interest of the religion of Islam.  This is because it would be foolhardy to anger the Sultans whom the British had a treaty with, by undermining the sanctity of Islam by converting their subjects.  In the case of Raffles, he only focused his efforts on those who are British subjects.

Here we see the subtle tactics of the Christian missionaries during Raffles’s times, and the Malay lackeys who colluded with them.  We can see the similarities in events of nowadays.  But the above is also why we have Allah in the Bibles of Indonesia and Sabah and Sarawak, but not in Peninsula Malaysia.

In the next installment I will discuss on how the concept of Trinity came about and why it was opposed by some Christians, and about Allah as the common denominator for God in the Arab-speaking world.

Proportionally Worse In Four Years

20121024-122558.jpgThe anger towards the AES system (pic by Fella Firdaus)

I cannot understand the negative reception by certain quarters from both sides of the political fence towards the Automatic Enforcement System (AES). While short-sighted members of the Barisan Nasional say that the installation of the AES will cause middle-income supporters to switch allegiance to the Pakatan Rakyat, the Pakatan Rakyat supporters played its usual game of saying the AES was awarded to enrich cronies.

Maybe, a memory-jogger is appropriate for both.

According to the WHO’s Global Status Report on Road Safety (2009), road traffic injuries is the leading cause of death for people between 15-19 years of age. It is the second leading cause of death for those between 5-14 years of age; third for those between 30-44. 90 percent of road fatalities happen in low and middle-income countries.

In 2009, a report from MIROS (Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research) states that we had 3.7 deaths per 10,000 vehicles when the global benchmark is two. We had 23.5 deaths per 100,000 population when the global benchmark is 10.

Fatalities by mode of transport shows that in 2008, motorcycles contributed to 60 percent of the fatalities followed by cars at 20 percent, while the age groups of 16-20 and 21-25 contributed 977 and 937 deaths respectively. That is 1,914 voters and potential voters gone in just one year.

Those from the Barisan Nasional should recognise that when a family member dies, very seldom do we see family members accepting the blame for the deceased’s recklessness. The blame will normally fall on the opposite party involved in the accident, or the government for not doing anything to mitigate or lessen the probability of accidents occurring.

For Pakatan Rakyat, it is very easy for them to point at Barisan Nasional saying that the AEs is nothing but a means to enrich cronies. Lest we forget in the four years that they have been in power in certain states, we hear of corruption in those states. Kedah has been awarding contracts to five unregistered contractors to undertake projects involving Taman Seri Gemilang, Seberamg Terus flats, Taman Wira, Alor Malai flats, Simpang Kuala flats, Tongkang Yard flats and Taman Kota Nelayan.

To make matters worse, the directors of the five companies are all relatives.

In Penang, we hear of the Bayan Mutiara and PPRT land sale issues. In Perak, during the short two years Pakatan Rakyat was in power, cousins Nga Kor Ming and Ngeh Koo Ham ruled Perak by proxy, and we all know of the ceremonial dress or suit tailoring contract involving a relative of at least one of the two. The conduct of the two was to the point of being ad nauseam that delegates at the recent Perak DAP Convention lambasted the two for their undemocratic ways.

DAP.jpgThe anger towards Teresa Kok (pic courtesy of Mynewshub)

In Selangor where DAP also rules by proxy, we should never forget why the late Teoh Beng Hock was called in by the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC). We should not forget what case was being investigated by the MACC, and who benefits the most from Beng Hock’s permanent silence. Just because Beng Hock was a Chinese, and BN has a Malay-majority party in it, don’t turn it into a Malay versus Chinese thing. It could have been a Chinese whacking a Chinese thing too!

Little Napoleons from DAP also rule Selangor. Kinrara voters, who voted for Teresa Kok in GE12, are now angry with her for being greedy, holding seven posts, thus neglecting her voters. Others that are being targeted include Ronnie Liu and Tony Pua.

The anger towards cronyism and nepotism practised by the office-holders of DAP has prompted some DAP grassroots to form a movement called the Liberos. This movement consists of DAP loyalists who had hoped for a DAP government that would make a difference, instead got disenfranchised when those elected did not become people-oriented, egotistic, selfish and greedy, so much so that DAP now stands for Daddy-Anak-Party or Developers Association of Penang. DAP leaders are quick to punish critiques while cronies are spared. The above are among the reasons for DAP’s Orang Asli rep, Bah Tony, to quit the so-called socialist democratic party recently.

So, for those who claim the AES only benefits BN cronies, be aware that cronyism and nepotism is rife and alive within Pakatan Rakyat itself, and I think what goes within PKR is academic. There was not even a proper party election to begin with, and its supremo was not even elected.

The idea of having the AES was mooted 10 years ago, while studies were conducted in 2003. And unlike the tender process (if any) in the Pakatan Rakyat-held states, the tender-selection committee involved members from the MACC, the Treasury and the Attorney-General’s Office.

If you think there is hanky-panky involving the AES, report to the MACC instead of whining. We have the machinery in place, use it. If you don’t use it, then you are just whining because you are a habitual traffic offender.

For Barisan Nasional members who are against the AES, grow up and wise up. Stop looking at your pockets and start protecting the lives of the Rakyat.

Shame on you all for objecting to the AES!

Screwing History

20120910-010742.jpg

“Patriotism is the scoundrel’s last refuge,” was a statement made on the evening of 7th April 1775 by the Tory-supporting poet, Samuel Johnson. Johnson’s statement was not referring to patriotism at all. He was in face criticising the false-patriotism of John Stuart, the 3rd Earl of Bute, and his supporters. This is the statement I would like to direct to Kua Kia Soong for his attempt at screwing up the nation’s history.

PUTERA-AMCJA

In January of 1947, Lai Tek or Loi Tek or Loi Tak, the Secretary-General of the Communist Party of Malaya (CPM) before Chin Peng, backed and finance the establishment of the multiracial Malayan Democratic Union (MDU) which adopted a CPM programme, and the Malay Nationalist Party (PKMM) to form part of the CPM’s United Front to oppose the British – Malay Rulers – UMNO consultations to replace the Malayan Union and call for immediate representative government based on a Republic Model. The United Front was under the banner of the Pan Malaya Council for Joint Action (PMCJA).

However, the PMCJA sounded too pro-non-Malays and Burhanuddin Helmi, co-founder of the PKMM, was forced by other left-wing Malay leaders to take the party out. He did so, and formed the Pusat Tenaga Rakyat (PUTERA) as a new vehicle to carry out left-wing Malay demand for a pro-Indonesia republic-type representative government, free of the Malay rulers’ influence. (read more about the PKMM/MNP, KMM et al here)

The CPM saw their mistake that had deprived their United Front of the illusion of Malay support, reformed the PMCJA into the All Malayan Council for Joint Action (AMCJA), wooed the PKMM’s PUTERA to rejoin a PUTERA-AMCJA coalition jointly chaired by each organisation’s President, namely Burhanuddin Helmi and Tan Cheng Lock.

Just to remind us all, it was a time when the non-Malays who formed the majority of the population of Malaya, were either immigrants or British subjects even though some were born in Malaya. Therefore, Malayan citizenship was being sought by the Malayan Democratic Union.

PUTERA-AMCJA then drafted a People’s Constitution (Perlembagaan Ra’ayat) in anticipation of, and to counter the Federation of Malaya Agreement being put together by the British, the Malay Rulers, and UMNO. The Federation Agreement was expected to restrict non-Malay citizenship to assuage right-wing and majority Malay fear of being swamped by the non-Malays who already outnumbered them. At Page 199 of his memoir, Chin Peng wrote:

“The AMCJA was not exactly a communist front but…it was firmly under our influence. It was never in Cheng Lock’s mind to become a CPM stooge. But that is what exactly happened.”

Later, the British were to dismiss the PUTERA-AMCJA pretentions of representing the people because the PKMM was confined to a small group of radical left-wing Malays, while the bulk of the Malays supported UMNO. Even the Ulamas were in UMNO until 1956 when they splintered out to form the Pan-Malayan Islamic Party (PAS).

As for the Chinese, they were divided. On this basis they convinced Cheng Lock to leave the AMCJA and talk to UMNO for citizenship and other related matters.

THE TUNKU WAS OUSTED AS PM…???

Tunku was NOT ousted by Razak. UMNO Youth and many of the younger UMNO leaders blamed the Tunku for not doing enough for the Malays, and giving too much face to the Chinese. They wanted Tunku to step down and make way for Razak.

Tun Razak, Tun Dr Ismail, Khir Johari (who is NOT the biological father of Zairil Khir Johari contrary to skewed popular belief) and the UMNO old guards, would have none of that and wanted Tunku to be given his own time to decide. Tunku saw the writing on the wall and said he would step down as soon as his nephew is installed as the Yang DiPertuan Agong (Sultan Abdul Halim, also the present Yang DiPertuan Agong) as it would not be right for an uncle to sembah his own nephew.

The Inspector-General of Police, Tun Salleh, was not the kind of man to lend himself to Tunku’s ouster. The Chief of Armed Forces Staff, General Tengku Osman Jiwa, was the IGP’s close friend and also was the Tunku’s nephew.

DID THE HOME MINISTER PURPOSELY ALLOW A FUNERAL PROCESSION AFTER THE POLICE HAD DENIED ITS PERMIT?

(read more about the Home Ministry over-riding the police’s decision to deny a funeral procession permit)

It was not certain why was the permit for the funeral procession of the Labour Party member denied by the police. It was either because of the pro-communists wanted it held on Elections eve, or because the organisers wanted an extended route, or whether because they did not want to be policed by the ‘red helmets’ (FRU).

An appeal was made to the concurrent Home Affairs Minister, Tun Razak who, like Tunku and the other ministers, was back in his constituency, Pekan. His concern was that no cause should be given to anybody to disturb the elections. So, he approved the permit as per the application.

But without the FRU to police, the procession really went to town. With 10,000 people in the procession, coupled with its shouted and hand-carried slogans crying blood debt will be paid with blood, it set the tone for the behaviour of the two opposition processions post-elections on the 11th and 12th of May.

As for the reported Tunku Tapes, I have not heard them, nor do I know when in the duration of Tunku’s life, were the recordings made. It could have been made in his twilight years, out of spite, much like Kua Kia Soong’s writings.