JESUS CHRIST – ESCHATOLOGICAL PROPHET AND INCARNATE SAVIOR (Part 3/4)

Christians buttress evidence for the historical factuality of the cross by appealing to eyewitness-accounts and reports found in non-Christian historical sources (Josephus, Tacitus). Muslim critics therefore grudgingly acknowledge that historically a crucifixion did occur. However, they suggest that someone other than Jesus was crucified. They argue that Christians have misunderstood the significance of the cross because they are victims of an illusion. God, they claim, replaced Jesus with someone that bore his likeness.

JESUS CHRIST – ESCHATOLOGICAL PROPHET AND INCARNATE SAVIOR
A CHRISTIAN PROPOSAL TO MUSLIMS (Part 3/4)

The Historical Factuality of the Crucifixion
Christians buttress evidence for the historical factuality of the cross by appealing to eyewitness-accounts and reports found in non-Christian historical sources (Josephus, Tacitus). The Christian witness to the crucifixion is plausible since it is inconceivable why Christians should invent the crucifixion which declares that their founder died an accursed death (under divine judgment) on the cross. As such, an outright denial of the crucifixion would tantamount to a willful blindness to historical reality. Muslim critics therefore grudgingly acknowledge that historically a crucifixion did occur. However, they suggest that someone other than Jesus was crucified. They argue that Christians have misunderstood the significance of the cross because they are victims of an illusion. God, they claim, replaced Jesus with someone that bore his likeness. Continue reading “JESUS CHRIST – ESCHATOLOGICAL PROPHET AND INCARNATE SAVIOR (Part 3/4)”

JESUS CHRIST AS ESCHATOLOGICAL PROPHET AND INCARNATE SAVIOR (Part 2/3)

How do we adjudicate the difference between Christians and Muslims regarding the prophetic mission and status of Jesus? Obviously, the issue cannot be answered in abstraction. For this reason, it is unfortunate that the controversy revolving around the incarnation of Christ has overshadowed his actual life lived out in history. It is of vital importance that Christians present their doctrine not as an imposition of a philosophical grid on the historical facts. Their proclamation of Jesus as God’s incarnation should be seen as a compelling conclusion based on a respectful handling and faithful interpretation of the historical data. In other words, reading about the life and works of Christ must lead us to ask what manner of man was Jesus: Isn’t he a remarkable man; isn’t he a prophet; isn’t he more than a prophet and what then?

JESUS CHRIST – ESCHATOLOGICAL PROPHET AND INCARNATE SAVIOR
A CHRISTIAN PROPOSAL TO MUSLIMS (Part 2/4)

MORE THAN AN ORDINARY PROPHET
One reason why Muslims reject Jesus’ crucifixion arises from Islamic faith in divine justice. In particular, God cannot abandon his prophet to tragic and unjust fate Indeed, as the Quran testifies, God gives victory to those who seek to further his cause (Surah 22:40; 40:51);
O you who believe!
If you will aid (the cause of) God,
He will aid you, and plant your feet firmly
(Surah 47:7);

Nay, God raised him up unto Himself; and God is Exalted in Power, Wise (Surah 4:158).

Herein lies an ironic twist in the denial of the cross or the Messiahship of Jesus. For the Jews Jesus could not be a prophet sent by God since he was crucified. The Muslims reverse this logic – if Jesus was a prophet sent by God then he could not be crucified. Continue reading “JESUS CHRIST AS ESCHATOLOGICAL PROPHET AND INCARNATE SAVIOR (Part 2/3)”

JESUS CHRIST AS ESCHATOLOGICAL PROPHET AND INCARNATE SAVIOR(Part 1/4)

Reginald Fuller argues that the category of the eschatological prophet remains the best category for understanding Jesus’ historical mission and “gives a unity to all of Jesus’ historical activity, his proclamation, his teaching with exousia (‘authority’), his healings and exorcisms, his conduct in eating with the outcast, and finally his death in the fulfillment of his prophetic mission. Take the implied self-understanding of his role in terms of the eschatological prophet away, and the whole ministry falls into a series of unrelated, if not meaningless fragments�?

JESUS CHRIST – ESCHATOLOGICAL PROPHET AND INCARNATE SAVIOR
A CHRISTIAN PROPOSAL TO MUSLIMS (Part 1/3)

Both Muslims and Christians apply the title ‘prophet’ to Jesus. However, the distinctive Islamic emphasis on prophethood should not be missed. In general the Muslim teaching of prophets includes the following: 1) A messenger/apostle (rasul) is sent with divine Scripture to guide and reform mankind; 2) All God’s prophets were trustworthy, knowledgeable, and most obedient to God. Allah protected them from serious sins and bad diseases; 3) Denying any of the prophets constitutes unbelief (Surah 4: 150-151); 4) Many prophets were mocked and rejected (Surah 15:11; 17:94). Some prophets were delivered by God, e.g. Noah (Surah 21:76; 26:118; 29:15; 37:76), Lot (21:71, 74; 26:170), and Moses (Surah 28:20-22; 26:65). Some of the prophets, however, were killed ‘wrongfully’ (e.g. Abel, Zechariah, and Yahya or John the Baptist), c.f. Surah 2:61, 87, 91; 3:21, 112; 4:155; 5:70. Finally, and most importantly, for Muslims Muhammad is ‘the seal of the prophets’ (Surah 33:40) /1/. Continue reading “JESUS CHRIST AS ESCHATOLOGICAL PROPHET AND INCARNATE SAVIOR(Part 1/4)”

Announcement: This blog/website unavailable on Friday 22 Dec 06

Please take note that internet access to this site will not be available on Friday 22 Dec 2006. I have just received notice from Tenaga that there will be a shut down of electric power to enable replacement of electric cables in my neighborhood. Obviously, my computer will be without electricity and this site will … Continue reading “Announcement: This blog/website unavailable on Friday 22 Dec 06”

Please take note that internet access to this site will not be available on Friday 22 Dec 2006.

I have just received notice from Tenaga that there will be a shut down of electric power to enable replacement of electric cables in my neighborhood. Obviously, my computer will be without electricity and this site will be down since it is hosted in my home-server. It may not be that bad. Something must be wrong if I find myself hovering over the computer trying to type some feeble thoughts when I should be celebrating God’s grace and goodness during this Christmas season

Trust Tenaga to choose a festive time to do its work – I can imagine what a nightmare it will be for my minister of home affairs with the spectre of all the wonderful food stocked in the fridge for Christmas dinner perishing. I am tempted to announce that Tenaga people are not welcomed to my Christmas dinner, but wouldn’t that be contrary to the spirit of Christmas?

Christian-Muslim Dialog in Malaysia: Terms of Engagement (Part 2)

Participants seeking dialog with Islam may well despair when confronted by what seems to be a religion that is fixed and unchangeable. How can dialog be possible if participants are not open to rational discussion? In this regard, it is encouraging to note the emergence of Muslim scholars calling for reformation of Islamic law as a necessity for successful engagement with Modernity. I find the proposal for reformation of Shariah law by Abdullahi An-Na’im, having the most potential for opening new possibilities for dialogue.

Christian-Muslim Dialog in Malaysia: Terms of Engagement (Part 2)

Challenges for Muslims

Participants seeking dialog with Islam may well despair when confronted by what seems to be a religion that is fixed and unchangeable. Conservative ulamas (scholars) insist that there can be no fundamental reforms to Shariah since the gate to itjihad (new knowledge and new reforms to Shariah) has already been closed in the 10th century.

Indeed, many Muslims take pride in the claim that all that is necessary for salvation and for the ordering of society has already been revealed. Likewise, Syed H. Nasr emphasizing that it should not be the case of divine law accommodating to changing society; rather, it should be a case of changing society to meet the requirements of God’s immutable law.

How can dialog be possible if participants are not open to rational discussion? Continue reading “Christian-Muslim Dialog in Malaysia: Terms of Engagement (Part 2)”

Christian-Muslim Dialog in Malaysia: Terms of Engagement (Part 1)

Some Christians avoid dialogue because of their own misconceptions. It is therefore appropriate for us to analyze how the meaning and goals of true dialogue could realistically be set in Malaysia. In the first place Christians should enter into the national debate about what common society we should work towards. The absence of a Christian voice results in a de facto surrendering of the public sphere to the dominant majority. Surely, this is an irresponsible act and an unconditional surrender to the hegemonic majority. Our failure to respond vigorously has resulted in a continual erosion of our Constitutional rights by many undebated legislations.

Christian-Muslim Dialog in Malaysia: Terms of Engagement (Part 1)

Challenges for Christians
Some Christians avoid dialogue because of their own misconceptions. It is therefore appropriate for us to analyze how the meaning and goals of true dialogue could realistically be set in Malaysia. In the first place Christians should enter into the national debate about what common society we should work towards. The absence of a Christian voice results in a de facto surrendering of the public sphere to the dominant majority. Surely, this is an irresponsible act and an unconditional surrender to the hegemonic majority. Our failure to respond vigorously has resulted in a continual erosion of our Constitutional rights by many undebated legislations. Continue reading “Christian-Muslim Dialog in Malaysia: Terms of Engagement (Part 1)”

The Dhimmi Syndrome: The Psychological Degradation of the Oppressed

The Dhimmi Syndrome
Twelve centuries of humiliation impressed upon the individual and collective psychologies of the oppressed groups a common form of alienation – the dhimmi syndrome. On the individual level it was characterized by a profound dehumanization. The individual, resigned to a passive existence, developed a feeling of helplessness and vulnerability, the consequence of a condition of permanent insecurity, servility, and ignorance.

The Dhimmi Syndrome: The Psychological Degradation of the Oppressed

I was psychologically traumatized recently. Don’t get me wrong. I am not talking about being hit by a mid-life crisis. Instead the reason for my distress came from UMNO politicians asserting that Malaysia should be ruled by a pivotal race (Malays). It is apparent that such sentiments are gaining ascendancy among Muslim/Malay activists, given how statements about Ketuanan Melayu dan Islam (Supremacy of Malays and Islam) are increasingly being declared publicly and unapologetically in the media.

However, the modern world no longer finds acceptable any talk of racial and religious supremacy – not after the appalling consequences of supremacist ideologies in recent history. Continue reading “The Dhimmi Syndrome: The Psychological Degradation of the Oppressed”

Separation between Religious and State Institutions (Part 2)

“One prominent model of separation is that of the secular state, sometimes called “strict separation�? between church and state. In this model, the public sphere is strictly secular in nature: laws are based on secular premises, government programs and activities are strictly secular in nature, and religion is deemed to be irrelevant to determination of the citizens’ civil obligations.

This approach tends to be animated by fear of religious divisiveness, religious warfare, sectarianism, and intolerance. The hope is to domesticate religion by privatizing it.

Separation between Religious and State Institutions (Part 2)

I begin with some observations by Nancy Rosenblum:

“One prominent model of separation is that of the secular state, sometimes called “strict separation” between church and state. In this model, the public sphere is strictly secular in nature: laws are based on secular premises, government programs and activities are strictly secular in nature, and religion is deemed to be irrelevant to determination of the citizens’ civil obligations.

This approach tends to be animated by fear of religious divisiveness, religious warfare, sectarianism, and intolerance. The hope is to domesticate religion by privatizing it. For some, disestablishmentarianism and privatization are the first steps toward reducing attachments to sectarian religion and fostering assimilation and secularization. If religion is understood as largely superstitious, propped up by the force of the state, then disestablishment of religion and the spread of enlightened reason should cause religion to wither away, without the need for coercion. Continue reading “Separation between Religious and State Institutions (Part 2)”

Separation between Religious and State Institutions (Part 1)

It is granted that religion (this includes all religions and not just Islam) is an integrated worldview and way of life. As such, practicing religion entails engagement with social life. It is futile, if not wrong to dichotomize these two spheres of human activities.

When we talk about separation between Church/Mosque and State, we are not suggesting a dichotomy between religion and society as spheres of human activity. We are suggesting the need to separate religious institutions from state institutions. We are calling for institutional separation. The separation is necessary both to protect state authorities from exploiting religion for their own political agenda and to prevent religious authorities from exploiting the state apparatus for their own (sectarian) religious agenda.

Separation between Religious and State Institutions (Part 1)

The qualified-secular status of the Malaysian Federal Constitution is been challenged in current debates on religion and society. Some Muslim activists reject the provision for the separation between state and religion since it does not grant due recognition to Islam as the religion of the majority.

It is granted that religion (this includes all religions and not just Islam) is an integrated worldview and way of life. As such, practicing religion entails engagement with social life. It is futile, if not wrong to dichotomize these two spheres of human activities.

When we talk about separation between Church/Mosque and State, we are not suggesting a dichotomy between religion and society as spheres of human activity. We are suggesting the need to separate religious institutions from state institutions. We are calling for institutional separation. The separation is necessary both to protect state authorities from exploiting religion for their own political agenda and to prevent religious authorities from exploiting the state apparatus for their own (sectarian) religious agenda.

Muslim activists who reject the call for separation argue that it is the duty of the government to enjoin virtue and prevent vice. I refer to the excellent study by Prof. Lamin Sanneh from Yale University on Shariah in Nigeria, Note the caution regarding the hazards to democratic justice that flow from the attempt to bring together (confuse) religious and state institutions. Continue reading “Separation between Religious and State Institutions (Part 1)”

Debunking Multiculturalism and Secularism – A Rejoinder (Link to miniblog)

I have been honored to receive two replies to my article “Multiculturalism – How Can it be Wrong?” published in the STAR (25/08/2006), which was in fact a response to an earlier article “Debunking Multiculturalism” written by Md Asham Ahmad from IKIM (STAR 22/08/06). Due to the constraint of time, I shall presently only give … Continue reading “Debunking Multiculturalism and Secularism – A Rejoinder (Link to miniblog)”

I have been honored to receive two replies to my article “Multiculturalism – How Can it be Wrong?” published in the STAR (25/08/2006), which was in fact a response to an earlier article “Debunking Multiculturalism” written by Md Asham Ahmad from IKIM (STAR 22/08/06).

Due to the constraint of time, I shall presently only give a brief response to a few issues raised by Md Asham Ahmad and Marzuki Mohamad in their responses to my article.

To read the full article posted in my miniblog, click the button highlighted in yellow, “Comment on Current Affairs” found on the right hand column “Navigation” .

Alternatively, click on https://www.krisispraxis.com/archives/category/miniblog