One Word: God

So this story is a couple weeks old at this point, but I’ve been mulling it over since I first read it. The New York Times ran an article back on January 8th about three different Christian churches in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia being attacked. For full details, check the article. The situation basically breaks down as follows: a Catholic newspaper translated God as Allah in the Malay-language edition. Well, the Malaysian government has a standing ban on Christians using the word Allah. Thus, a protest ensued. And one Catholic church was nearly destroyed while two others had minor damage from fire bombs.

The violence, the oppression of freedom of speech, freedom of religion, all of that aside, this is a fundamentally ludicrous fight. The Muslim community is holding that “Allah is only for us.” How do you ban a word? Especially a word that is a mere translation of a word fundamental to not just the Islam religion but to the three most influential religions in the world?

By engaging in this fight, the Malay Muslim community is basically saying their god is different than the Christian god. But this is not true. Judaism, Christianity, and Islam all worship the same God. The differences are the significant people in their various mythos. Fights like this demonstrate to me that these religions are less concerned with god and more concerned with fighting each other. And if the only thing you are fighting about is the word you use to name your diety, is it really a fight worth having.

On a different but related note, Leah has expressed an interest in going back to church. Not because she has started believing in Allah again but rather to experience the social spirituality. I told her I don’t have a problem with it, just that I do not plan to go with her. In all honesty, though, I wish she wouldn’t go. I don’t want her to support religion. It seems like such a major step backwards after she has left the church. I won’t actually tell her not to go, of course, because I want her to be happy. I just cannot see the appeal of so broken a system, such obvious lies.

We’re all searching for truth. Religion has no truth to offer. It is misdirection and deceit, the promise of salvation and the deliverance of ignorance. If your personal truth means god, then you are as right as I, but do not corrupt that belief with adherence to a religion, to enslavement to a church. Worship freely, pursue truth with your every breath.

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6 thoughts on “One Word: God

  1. i liked what you had to say.

    i don’t think someone who doesn’t believe in God should go to church. “social spirituality” won’t be had by attending a church. people who go to church believe in God. those people also want you to believe in the same God. they will stop at nothing in order to convert you. kind of like how you, Ryan, continue to say you are a nonjudgemental atheist. we all know that is not the case. people at church are liars and fakers. they will lie to your face.

    there are only two possible solutions. leah actually does believe in God, and believing in him gives her comfort.

    or she doesnt, and wouldnt need the comfort a savior brings.

    • Aren, you are right. If one were to go to a church outright admitting to a lack of belief, that person would either be shunned or see no end to the attempts at conversion to belief.

      I do find it amusing the way you phrased your final point. Belief in god brings Leah comfort or she needs no comfort from belief in a savior. This might be nit-picky, but isn’t the savior Christ and not god? This plays to my point exactly. See my general comment below.

  2. I agree with you on the heaps of “lies” that describe most of modern day religion, but don’t dismiss the truths that they’re piled on. It’s just like the US political system: it’s terribly broken, but at the core is something worth understanding and preserving. The solution is not to check out, but to get involved and work towards fixing it.

    • But don’t you think the nature of something like religion causes its own degradation? Based on the Malay-Allah story, religion just seems to be a means of excluding people. Whereas what we really need is to come together and know that no one fully agrees with anyone else about what we cannot know, but why don’t we learn from each other and embrace the differences as a means of covering all possible contingencies?

  3. From my outside-looking-in point of view, religion is about people and not about god. At least as far as the big three monotheistic religions are concerned. It is fascinating to me that they all worship the same god, but are constantly at odds with one another.

    Now at the same time, I see god as people. We are god. God is what we cannot explain. God is what we cherish about ourselves and each other. This is what gets lost in religion. The importance of all people, not just the people that agree.

    It should honor the Malay-Muslims that the Catholic newspaper translated the word as Allah, the word that the Malay speaking audience is comfortable with. I call god Humanity. They call god Allah. Aren, Jason, they call god God. What we are talking about is love and faith and the ability to see a tomorrow that is worth today. That all disappears if we fight amongst ourselves, especially for something as trivial as a word.

  4. that, Ryan, calls to the issue of the holy trinity…

    i believe that the bible says that there is a holy trinity. God the Father, the Son, and the holy spirit. i cannot remember where it says that, probably because i never knew. anyway, some people dont believe that, yet they read the same versus i did. the issue isnt with religion at the core. it is with Humans. if only we didnt have brains so evolved we would be totally fine.

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