Archive for the ‘God and the religions’ Category

Petra and just after jahiliya

April 5, 2020

I think this is an interesting archaeological film about the early years of Islam.  Indeed some of the earliest Mosques did not point to Mecca but they pointed to Petra…

The question is why?

The link below will take you to the site.

Petra

 

 

How should Christians read the Qu’ran?

June 4, 2017

On Face book I have seen videos and text from
the Koran Surah 2 verses 190-196

The thing that happened in London last night was murder
and I think that overwhelmingly the Muslim
community deplores what happened as murder.

I have put the following together for mainly Christians
who want to have a go at reading the Qu’ran and to be
a bit more sympathetic as far as it is possible
———————————————-
Before I start St Paul in Romans 12 said

Love in Action

9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.
10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.
11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.
12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.
15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.
16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but
be willing to associate with people of low position.[c] Do not be conceited.

17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil.
Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone.
18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
————————————————————————
As Chrsitians we need to have a particular attitude an attitude of love
towards all people because they were also created in the image of God.

When looking at any ‘holy Scripture’ even if we don’t agree, we need to show a
bit of respect. If we show respect to Shakespeare which isn’t seen
as holy scripture shouldn’t we show other ancient texts the same respect.

From the Christian tradition especially with Calvin who is seen as the
father of modern day biblical exegesis he would have a rule we all follow today.
To find the real meaning using exegesis of the text… Asking questions such as
who wrote it? why was it written? To whom was it written for? What did this word mean
to the original readers and so forth. That way we get back to the real meaning

Or eisegesis… I don’t agree with this text because… I had a dream and God
showed me that this text is evil…

One method is scientific the other is dream land. We have to be careful.
———————————————————————-
So there are tools that the ulama (Scholars of islam) also use
and ways of thinking.
some of them are

 

Ummah
The consensus of the Muslim community
Who wrote it? What did the early Muslim community make of it?
How should it be interpreted today?

Ijma
The consensus of the scholars

Ijmāʿ (Arabic: إجماع‎‎) is an Arabic term referring to the consensus or
agreement of the Muslim scholars basically on religious issues.
(Taken from Google- I already knew about this and other facts)

 

quiyas
Deductive analogy of the Koran and Hadith

In Islamic jurisprudence, qiyās (Arabic: قياس‎‎) is the process
of deductive analogy in which the teachings of the Hadith are
compared and contrasted with those of the Qur’an, in order
to apply a known injunction (nass) to
a new circumstance and create a new injunction.
———————————————————

 

 

Having said all this Surah 2from verses 190 – 196 was
in context of the Battle of Badr. The Muslim community
I think at that time were more interested in survival.
The other fact is the battle was between polytheists and
theists who were at war. Yes there was an enemy…

The situation in London is different: It is murder and
the consensus of the Islamic community as a whole sees it
as murder. There was no enemy, and no one carried a weapon.
The murderers didn’t take into account anyones point of view
as it was cold blooded murder.

I found this interesting:

This is a commentary on those verses

http://www.islam101.com/terror/Surah2V190to194.htm

 

I also found this interesting:
This is a cartoon version of the Battle of Badr

My Lord and Saviour is Jesus Christ and I serve him.
We are commanded by God to live at peace with everyone
as far as it is possible.

Let us show love and respect for other communities
as well as our own

 

 

Which God is the true God?

October 8, 2016

Earlier this week I posted a picture of myself in a mosque and at prayer.
It caused some indignation, horror and shock in some believer’s
eyes that I should have done such a thing.

So Why did I go into a mosque in the first place… I was on holiday
and I decided to go into a Mosque that used to be a cathedral. In this
mosque in the past they annointed kings and queens. It was
interesting that while I was there a Greek tourist came upto me
and spoke to me and why it was of interest to him from a
theological perspective. He was from a Bible College in Greece somewhere.

I wanted to reach out in prayer, love, compassion and empathy
to my Muslim relatives. I became a target
for their theological view points and none of them really cared
about my feelings.

One version was that there are two gods… A good Christian one
and a bad Muslim one… I suppose it is a modern form of
gnosticsm. Another one was that the Muslim God was the Devil.
Another version was that the Muslim God is the anti-Christ. That
I am worshipping some sort of idol.

All of these were full of prejudice and discrimination and
I reject all of them.

Firstly there is only One Creator… Genesis 1 verse 1 says
in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth…
I start from here as it puts all people on a single level playground.
We were all created in the image of God as Psalm 8 says.

It is interesting that when Calvin starts his theology he says that
we don’t know which came first the knowledge of God or of ourselves.
This is an important point as there was a time when there were
no holy books but nature. Even a pagan can feel a force in nature
that is greater than themselves. Religious people call it God.

My starting point is here with Calvin and revelation is progressive.
Monotheism accepts this fact. Jews Muslims and Christians accept this
fact. If it was not the case then there could be no dialogue between these
three great relgions. This is how the Apostolic Creed starts: We
believe in One God the Father, Creator of Heaven and earth. So there is
knowledge of God here.

Then the Apostolic Creed moves on to the Son and then the Holy Spirit
thus we have some knowledge of the economy of God. I suppose as a
Christian I will always be the black sheep in the family of God as I
can and do move in two religious communities. Without empathy and
compassion religion is like a barren tree in the desert where there
is no water.

For me I have chosen the Christ path but that doesn’t mean
that I have to be a stereo typical Christian because I’m not. I don’t
accept a lot of stereo typical ideas about God although I am
completely Trinitarian.

Yes I believe God is one and that he has revealed himself in three
Persons namely, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. As a believer I
believe that God created everything.

At the moment it is very popular in Christian thaught to attack Muslim
theology by saying the God of the Bible and the God of the Koran
are not the same God… This is missing the point. God is not a book of this
or that. He is the Living God. He is bigger than the Bible and the Koran.
Johns Gospel is interesting in that at the end John says that if all
the works of Jesus were written down he supposed that the whole
world could not contain them. I’m talking in terms of creation
not this book or that book.

At one point belief diverges but no one can deny that Jews, Chistians
and Muslims believe in a Creator… At this point all monotheistic
religions hold the same tenet. I don’t have time for those
that attack Islam as Monist. That just shows how some theologians
haven’t looked at the small print of creation enough.

Theology diverges at the point at which we talk about
Jesus as the Son of God. At this point my path stays within
the Biblical tradition….

Another argument is given that Allah and the God of the Bible is different.
To tell you the truth this argument doesn’t hold out because the
name Allah is used by Coptic Christians and Turkish Christians as
well as Muslims. The name Allah has very ancient roots that go
back to El but this is another story I don’t have time to go into.

So I pray at home, On the train, in church, at the mosque. Who cares???
If there are those who don’t agree with me then that is not my problem. I
love my Muslim relatives and friends.

For me what is important is to be genuine about my faith in God and
show compassion to my fellow man no matter what his religious background.
Words are just words and empty if there is no compassion. Why should a
person listen to someone on the opposite viewpoint if that view point
sees itself as superior to another viewpoint. Isn’t this a form of
arrogance. Being genuine is ‘I believe… but I still have time to
refelct on what you want to say without judgementalism’. Obviously
according to the rules of logic both cannot be right but we
can both be sincere and humble.

Some will find my views shocking but I have chosen the Christ path.

The limits of power and the problem of atheism.

October 22, 2014

Atheism which literally means ‘no god’ has the notion that God doesn’t exist.

With this notion comes other reasons that the moral stance loses its limits. So from a political stand point why cannot the atheist and the religious agree.?  Quite simply, there is no balance of scripture tradition and reason. There is only reason.

Some say that scripture is antiquated because it was written too far in the past. My answer to that is human nature doesn’t change from generaton to generation. In fact in the 21st century bad things happen on a bigger scale than they did in the past.

My contention is this, the religous community have a history, have a tradition and the reasoning of some of the greatest minds the world has ever had.

For the religious, God is and there is a reason for life… For the atheist; What is the reason for life or is it no reason?   What do you think?

 

The importance of renewing our mind and treating people with respect

May 21, 2014

Racism and its allied prejudices is a great evil in our society. It is something that has been passed down through the generations.

• To deal with racism we first need to understand some concepts.

• We then need to look at ourselves and see if any of these things are ingrained in us.

• We then need to change our mindset and in humility accept that no one is perfect.

• We then need to come to a place and be disgusted about it.

• We will then stop doing it ourselves and encourage the less enlightened from doing it.

• A lot of atheists and religious people have different ways of dealing with this evil.

• In the near future I will give a set of discussion on this topic

Obviously I have a Christian bent on this which works with repentance and with the work of Christ and the Help of the Holy Spirit, we mature.

For Muslims the Hajj reminds people that all are equal in the sight of God. Whether rich or poor, every man is supposed to wear white so you cannot tell who is rich or poor or what nationality a person is for the Umma is one tribe.

For atheists, modern science and psychological practices help to get someone in the right frame of mind.

For Jews, they remember that they were slaves in Egypt and that it is wrong to put someone down who is a foreigner or Jew.

I could go on but as you can see, respecting people with differences is a bench mark of what it means to be truly human.

Why secularism isn’t the answer

August 17, 2013

Before I start on my discussion on secularism I want to say that whoever we are. We all share the same world, breathe the same air and share our lives in the theatre of this humble earth. We cannot escape this fact. We all have to make sense of our existence and our being and we all have to get on and if we don’t get on it doesn’t make a very pretty site.

We live in a multi ethnic world and this world is shrinking all the time. Technology is moving at a rapid pace and things are changing. On one level it scares me. It used to be the case that scientific discovery made breakthroughs in a time of war but in these days breakthroughs happen every day.

Religion is marginalised by certain groups and is made out to be some type of pariah. A dinosaur from the past, a dead rat. The reason for this is that science is seen as the thing that will free us from our bondages. Science is seen as the great saviour of the human race. Progress marches on whatever the cost.

I don’t accept this thing about scientific progress. The technology that gave us the hospitals also gave us the atomic bomb. Secularism is no saviour of our modern state. It has a hidden agenda and it is a beast that turns to and throe to see who it can devour. It doesn’t respect the person. It only respects its own agenda which is run by humans who have all their own suppositions. It is no friend of mine!

The many down to earth religious people in this world remind us that we are moral beings. We can discuss issues as grown ups and make decisions about our future. In the late 1990s I remember reading through the Tower Hamlets Religious Studies syllabus and I was fascinated by how much the six major religions including Buddhism agreed on.

I’m not ashamed to call my self a Christian a follower of Christ (with all of my faults). The Christian community and the other religious communities including Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Sikhism, and Buddhism have a lot of wisdom to give to our society. I am talking political here.

Faith

June 4, 2013

Faith is a very small word but it is a very powerful word.  It has the idea of reliance.  For me and my faith, reliance is on Christ  and what he did for us.  Christ’s death and resurrection gives us us hope.

I want to focus however on the love of neighbour aspect because we can’t achieve our potential without love. We all need it sometime in our lives.

Faith

June 4, 2013

Faith is a very small word but it is a very powerful word.  It has the idea of reliance.  For me and my faith, reliance is on Christ  and what he did for us.  Christ’s death and resurrection gives us us hope.

I want to focus however on the love of neighbour aspect because we can’t achieve our potential without love. We all need it sometime in our lives.

Respect for everyone: The good bad and the ugly

September 18, 2011

I agree with the book of Romans in chapter one when it says that all have sinned… The truth is that is the condition of humanity. This is where religion then kicks in to give an antidote to our fallen state or it is supposed to.

Any descent monotheistic religion will start from the premise of loving God and Loving ones neighbour. This is the golden rule that is found in some form in all of the great religions of the world.

Unfortunately when it comes to practice the golden rule tends to be forgotten and violence seem to break out. Instead of loving ones neighbour hate comes in.

This goes for both Muslims and Christians. This behaviour of just wanting to win a point is quite silly.

So what can the basis be for Muslim and Christian discussion about God. Is there any common ground…. Yes there is; Respect and love for the creation of God. God made the Muslim and the Christian. In fact God created everybody… This would be a good premise.

What other common ground is there?
The other common ground is that Muslims and Christians want everyone to come closer to God.

Where we differ is How!

At the end of the day we cannot escape heaven and hell and this is a question of eternal damnation or eternal joy…

We can’t both be right.. However we can both be sincere…

I want to share my faith about the fact that Jesus died for us.
The Muslim doesn’t agree because God is One [Tawhid] not Trinity.

We can have a cup of tea and discuss these things and keep talking until it is our time to cross to the other side. This way none of us lose our integrity and we go about our business how God intended.

If we stoop to violence how does that honour God?
The truth is: It doesn’t, violent people will definitely miss out on God’s kingdom.

Death Beyond and Hope

January 16, 2011

Why do people trust in God… I think it is the most sensible thing to do…  I think the ancient Egyptians
got one of the indicators right when they built those pyramids…  We might feel that we are going to live forever
but the truth is we are not…  One day we all die and we need to wise up to this and live as though
we could die… It might sound a bit morbid but I know that there is hope…

RE specialists call life after death an ultimate question as not many have journeyed to the other side and have
come back… They say that from a scientific point of view this question cannot be answered.  I cannot agree
with this assessment completely because Pascal the discoverer of probablity fell on the side of theism
rather than atheism…  Religion I believe has a better answer than atheism… From my point of view all
of the key religions have a better answer than atheism.

However Christianity I believe is unique in that in the God Man, Jesus Christ is historically verifiable that
he came to this world and that he died… On the third day he rose again and offers hope to
anyone who puts their complete trust in him…

This is my position…  I believe the scriptures that tell me Jesus is Lord… I then in faith and submission
by the guidance of the Holy Spirit read the scriptures and come into deeper profound truths…

Job in the Bible got it right; in Job chapter 19 verse 25 it says “And as for me I know my Redeemer lives
And at the last He will take his stand on the earth … Even after my skin is destroyed
Yet from my flesh I shall see God”…
Job is supposed to be one of the oldest books in the Bible….  Job came face to face with death, suffering
all the way  and he knew Jesus… (my interpetation)…