Disaster: Lost Posts

Disaster Strikes!

Never love blogging more than necessary. It is more unreliable than a fickle lover

DISASTER STRIKES!

Lost data due to file corruption while updating MySQL for the server, and of all things backuped the wrong files. Anyway, after some tweaking we got back most of the posts. Hopefully, I will be able to repost some the lost data sometime in the future.

Never love blogging more than necessary. It is more unreliable than a fickle lover.

Muslim Reception/Rejection of Modernity (Part 1)

My thesis is that there is a deeply felt, but nevertheless unexpressed anxiety among Muslims, especially among the religious elite, that Modernity (in the technical sense that I will describe below) will ultimately undermine Islam as a viable framework for a coherent community in the modern world. Hence, we witness the temptation among Muslims to find solace and security in dogmatic and defensive Islam and the resurgence of intolerant Islam in Malaysia.

MUSLIM RECEPTION /REJECTION OF MODERNITY

Introduction
It is a fact of life that people hold conflicting political and religious views and follow different ways of life. It is imperative that the government frames social policies that encourage people of various cultures to identify commonality (not homogeneity) to build a harmonious society. Such an endeavor in turn requires building a social ethos that allows for tolerance of diversity, dialogue and openness to change in order to equip a citizenry with the intellectual capacity to confront the overwhelming pace of change of the modern world.

But what non-Muslims witness coming from the Muslim community is rejection of the vital pre-requisites for the development of a flourishing modern society. We hear prominent Muslims condemning liberalism although liberalism at its best encourages citizens use reason to weigh moral choices rather than follow traditional authority blindly. Secular politics is rejected as essentially antipathetic to religion when it is specifically designed to provide a neutral platform for different religions to work out compromises that are essential for a plural society. Other Muslim leaders reject the call for interfaith dialog. Religious tolerance is vigorously condemned through mass demonstrations that find their way even into the National Mosque. Finally, there are the regular calls for banning of various cultural activities on grounds that such activities (music festivals or films) are against Islam. Continue reading “Muslim Reception/Rejection of Modernity (Part 1)”

Asian Human Rights: A Critique

Asian critics offer more sophisticated arguments than expediency in their resistance against demands for greater implementation of human rights policies. Of the various arguments voiced by Asian governments I shall focus on four: 1) that human rights are culture specific; 2) that community takes precedence over individuals; 3) that social-economic rights have priority over civil political rights, and 4) that the implementation of human rights should be respected as a matter of national sovereignty.

Asian critics offer more sophisticated arguments than expediency in their resistance against demands for greater implementation of human rights policies. Of the various arguments voiced by Asian governments I shall focus on four: 1) that human rights are culture specific; 2) that community takes precedence over individuals; 3) that social-economic rights have priority over civil political rights, and 4) that the implementation of human rights should be respected as a matter of national sovereignty.

The Arguments for Asian Values Examined

Argument 1: Human rights are culture specific. Continue reading “Asian Human Rights: A Critique”

Malaysia Social Contract (Part 2): Excerpts from Historical Documents

The Reid Commission (1957)(Download PDF File) I) Report of the Federation of Malaya Constitutional Commission 1957 (London: Her Majesty’s Stationary Office) Colonial No. 330

The Reid Commission (1957)(Download PDF File)

I) Report of the Federation of Malaya Constitutional Commission 1957

(London: Her Majesty’s Stationary Office)

Colonial No. 330 Continue reading “Malaysia Social Contract (Part 2): Excerpts from Historical Documents”

Malaysia Social Contract (Part 1): Religion and Equal Citizenship

Whoever seeks to redefine our past seeks to hijack our future. In this regard, recent attempts to rewrite the history of the Social-Legal Contract created at the founding of Malaya/Malaysia in 1957 and our Constitutional history are troubling. These attempts at rewriting of history include two goals: 1) legitimize the transformation of Malaysian politics premised on equal citizenship of all Malaysians to one based on Malay dominance (supremacy) since 1969 (one may call it subversion of Malaysian democracy), and 2) to strengthen demands for implementation of Shariah law in all sectors of society.

Social Contract (Part 1): Religion and Equal Citizenship

Whoever seeks to redefine our past seeks to hijack our future. In this regard, recent attempts to rewrite the history of the Social-Legal Contract created at the founding of Malaya/Malaysia in 1957 and our Constitutional history are troubling. These attempts at rewriting of history include two goals: 1) legitimize the transformation of Malaysian politics premised on equal citizenship of all Malaysians to one based on Malay dominance (supremacy) since 1969 (one may call it subversion of Malaysian democracy), and 2) to strengthen demands for implementation of Shariah law in all sectors of society. Continue reading “Malaysia Social Contract (Part 1): Religion and Equal Citizenship”

Dialog (Building Bridges Seminar) Between Christian Muslim Scholars Cancelled

Many friends have been asking what happened to the Dialog: The 6th Building Bridges from May 7-11, 2007 convened by the Archbishop of Cantebury, Dr. Rowan Williams. The Dialog is supposed to bring together 30+ Christian and Muslim scholars from all over the world to discuss on the topic “Humanity in Context: Christian Muslim Perspectives on Being Human.�? Thank you for your encouragement and prayers when I was preparing one of the plenary papers. I owe you an update.

Many friends have been asking what happened to the Dialog: The 6th Building Bridges from May 7-11, 2007 convened by the Archbishop of Cantebury, Dr. Rowan Williams. The Dialog is supposed to bring together 30+ Christian and Muslim scholars from all over the world to discuss on the topic “Humanity in Context: Christian Muslim Perspectives on Being Human.” Thank you for your encouragement and prayers when I was preparing one of the plenary papers. I owe you an update.

The sad thing is that the Dialog has been cancelled (or, to use the language of diplomacy -postponed indefinitely) at the last minute. You might be interested to read the full details of the unfortunate development of events from the

The Times May 10, 2007 at http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/faith/article1769414.ece Continue reading “Dialog (Building Bridges Seminar) Between Christian Muslim Scholars Cancelled”

Image of God and Human Personhood

The image of God becomes most evident in the unique human capacity to respond to God’s offer of covenant relationship. To echo Robert Jenson, human distinctiveness is simply that we are related to God as his conversational counterpart. Because God speaks to us, we know he is personal. As we answer him, we too are personal.

Image of God and Human Personhood

The Majesty of Man
Humans stand out among living creatures with special characteristics that include the use of complex language and symbolic thought, the production of culture and technological innovations and fostering community based on moral values. It is most significant that only humans display religious longings and sing hymns. In this regard, Christian theology is right in seeing the uniqueness of man lies in his relationship with God: Only man is an ordered being, an addressed being, a responsible being. Only man is called to prayer.

The Psalmist (Psalm 8) exclaims a sense of wonderment, “When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?” Humans may be made lower than heavenly beings, but he is entrusted with dominion over the creatures. Humans are under God but over creation. Continue reading “Image of God and Human Personhood”

Welcoming the Stranger: Giving Recognition and Showing Hospitality

Hospitality most fittingly captures the ways and welfare of the pilgrim peoples. In the act of sharing we achieve freedom from the strangling and suffocating attachment to worldly goods. When we share and receive from one another, we are reminded that we are merely stewards of God’s gifts to be used for the common good. In offering hospitality to strangers we affirm we are merely fellow pilgrims en route to the heavenly city of God.

Welcoming the Stranger
Giving Recognition and Showing Hospitality

Why I Find it Hard to Recognize and Welcome Strangers
– I am a Stranger Myself
– I am a Captive to a Self-Centred LifeStyle (Economic Security and Comfort)
What Biblical Resources Challenge My Complacent/Frantic Life of Economic and Cultural Captivity?
How Can I Make Room for the Stranger?
Ministering as Fellow Pilgrims Continue reading “Welcoming the Stranger: Giving Recognition and Showing Hospitality”

What is Christological Praxis? Part 2/2

Perhaps a fruitful model may be found by integrating the covenant model of society with ideological critique represented by the critical theory of the Frankfurt School. Insofar as the church exists as a social phenomenon, the church is open to social forces operating in society. As such, relevant social analysis must be brought to bear on the historical form assumed by the church to uncover any hidden structures that contradict its professed identity.

Thesis 2: Social praxis is structurally mediated by the emancipatory solidarity of the community of Christ.

Christians seeking to be relevant to wider society should take note of Jurgen Moltmann’s analysis of the unintended consequences when Christian student activists decided to join the barricades in the student demonstrations in Berlin in 1968. The Christian students eventually abandoned their Christian faith as irrelevant to their present social struggles. Moltmann highlights the dramatic case of Christian students at the Meiji-Gakuin University in Japan who even erected a barricade in the University Chapel. The Japanese students declared,

By making our church a refuse dump we want to proclaim to the university authorities and our fellow students that Christianity and worship can become symbols of the absence of humanity and contempt for it. We want to create true Christianity n the midst of this stormy struggle within the university by common action with our fellow students. . . God does not exist in this church, but rather in the living deeds of a man involved in human relationships” (The Crucified God, p. 15) Continue reading “What is Christological Praxis? Part 2/2”

What is Christological Praxis? Part 1/2

Thesis 1: The process from Christ to social praxis is mediated through a specific anthropology, philosophy of history and social structure. Christological anthropology, that is, the concepts of freedom and cohumanity in Christ conceives of man as acting under divine determination and enables social praxis to maintain a relational view of man which is necessary to keep the community in view.

What is Christological Praxis?

Christology as a Normative Factor

Christology is a normative factor for social praxis but Christological ethic is not to be construed as merely an exercise in the detailed reproduction of the work and words of Jesus. Attempts towards mere replication of the activities of the historical Jesus give an impression of datedness since Jesus could only address issues 2000 year ago. Worse still, one may be forced to conclude that Jesus is irrelevant to social praxis today. Continue reading “What is Christological Praxis? Part 1/2”