Sanity Injection

Injecting a dose of sanity into your day’s news and current events.

Posts Tagged ‘Christianity’

Who does the word “Allah” belong to?

Posted by sanityinjection on January 8, 2010

That is the question at the heart of the current controversy in the majority Muslim nation of Malaysia, which also has significant religious minorities including Christians. The issue flared up recently when the Malaysian government confiscated loads and loads of Bibles written in the Malay language brought in by local Christian groups. The government claimed that the Bibles illegally used the word “Allah” to refer to the Christian God and that the word properly applies only to the God of Islam. (Never mind that any half-trained theologian can tell you that the two faiths worship the same Supreme Being – the God of Abraham, though they view Him quite differently.)

The Christians had earlier filed suit against the government for outlawing their use of “Allah” in their religious newspaper, pointing out that “Allah” is an Arabic word that means “God” and that is used routinely by Arab Christians and Arabs of other faiths. The government responded that the use of the word was intended to confuse Muslims and trick them into converting to Christianity. (If that seems reminiscent of anti-Semitism, it should.) The government claimed that the Christians’ use of the word could lead to violent unrest.

On December 31, the Malaysian High Court ruled in favor of the Christians. Of course the government promptly appealed. It only took about a week after that before Christian churches started being firebombed. Now the government is in the awkward position of having to defend itself against charges that they incited the riots they had earlier predicted. While I doubt that there was any official involvement, I have no doubt that the pillars of society who threw those firebombs were incited and egged on by the imams of their mosques to strike a blow against the infidels.

The irony of all this is that Malaysia is generally considered one of the more secular, democratic, and largely free Muslim nations. And yet the difference in basic values between Malaysia and any Western democracy couldn’t be more clear. The very notion that our government could give a religion the exclusive right to use a foreign loanword is simply incomprehensible. (Heck, even Western Christians would never dream of trying to demand exclusive rights to the name “Jesus”.) What is most telling about the whole issue is not the ultimate outcome of the case, but the fact that the issue even arose in the first place.

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Posted in Foreign Affairs, Religion | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

And so it begins: If you’re Christian, you must be psychologically disturbed

Posted by sanityinjection on December 17, 2009

I have commented in this space previously about the ongoing war against religious faith generally, and Christian faith in particular, being waged by the Left in this country. Sadly, one of the chief battlegrounds has been our public schools, where the slightest mention or display by a student of anything like a Christian symbol or belief can be labeled “intolerance of diversity” and constitute grounds for discipline.

Worse news, though, is that the next phase of anti-Christianity has now begun. Unsatisfied with labeling Christians as bigots, the new logic goes like this: Belief in Jesus is irrational and therefore evidence of a psychological problem, which should of course be treated with therapy and drugs until the person becomes a happy, well-adjusted atheist.

If you think this is a wild exaggeration, consider the recent case of an 8-year old boy in Taunton, Massachusetts. In response to an instruction by his teacher to draw something that reminded him of the holiday season, the boy drew a stick figure of Christ on the cross. The teacher and the school administration decided that the appropriate reaction to this outrage was to send the child home from school immediately and force him to undergo a psychological evaluation  – which he passed – before allowing him to return.

The teacher apparently became upset because he or she felt the image was violent, being especially disturbed by the child’s drawing Xs where Jesus’ eyes would be (a common way of representing closed eyes.) The teacher claims the boy said he had drawn himself on the cross. You can judge for yourself how alarming and violent the image is here.

Even taking the teacher’s explanation at face value, I fail to see how a rational person would judge this 8 year old  boy to be a danger to himself or his classmates based on this drawing. If the teacher had concerns about the boy’s home situation, surely that did not require such immediate and drastic action. Needless to say, the poor kid does not understand what he did wrong and has been rather traumatized by the whole business. He will be transferring to another school at the request of his parents.

It is difficult to escape the conclusion that it is the teacher rather than the student who should be undergoing a mandatory psychological evaluation. But don’t hold your breath.

Posted in Domestic News, Politics, Religion | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Christians in action: An object lesson

Posted by sanityinjection on February 5, 2009

There is a significant segment of American society which views organized Christianity with fear, distrust, and downright hostility. Especially the variety that is commonly espoused in a conservative Southern state like Texas. To this segment of Americans, Christians are uptight, intolerant, and rigid people who want to take away the freedoms of others. While this view is admittedly not totally without foundation in the actions of some Christians today and in the past, it is largely inaccurate and unfair.

Of course, there are a lot of people who claim to be Christians but really don’t act like it, contributing to confusion. To help reduce that confusion, I offer the following highly unusual story of true Christians in action, which took place at a high school football game in Texas:

http://sports.espn.go.com/espnmag/story?section=magazine&id=3789373

I must admit, as a non-Christian myself, my first reaction was one of incredulity. Weren’t these folks taking it a bit far? After all, the “athletes” of Gainesville State were not merely underprivileged youths, but “kids with convictions for drugs, assault and robbery”.  One Gainesville player named Gerald complains that people are frequently “lookin’ at us like we’re criminals.”  It might not be a bad idea for someone to remind Gerald that he and his teammates *are* criminals. Minimizing one’s criminal past is not generally considered to be a productive step in rehabilitation.

That, however, is not the responsibility of the folks at  Grapevine Faith. Rather, being a bunch of the aforementioned scurrilous Christians, they looked to their Bibles and saw that Jesus spent much of his time ministering to society’s outcasts, specifically including criminals. Their faith teaches that every human life has value, and at the behest of their football coach, decided to make a prominent demonstration of that belief.

The issue is not whether Grapevine’s actions will ultimately have any significant impact on the Gainesville kids’ lives. Rather, what’s important is what their behavior says about the Grapevine folks. They went way beyond any reasonable expectation of their normal duties as hosts, because they felt it was what their faith called upon them to do. At a time when many so-called Christians are accused of hypocrisy (and often with justification), these people proved themselves to be the opposite. Whether we believe, agree, or approve, or not, there is no question in my mind that the true spirit of Christianity flourished for one night in Texas in November of 2008.

So the next time you hear or read someone trashing Christianity and Christians, think about the Grapevine Faith folks and ask yourself if you would have done what they did.

Posted in Religion, Sports | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »