Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Perversion of the Lord’s Name Today; Allah Is Not God


Exodus 20:7:You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain” as it relates to the use of “Allah”.
These comments form the conclusion to our look at Exodus 20:7 and the various ways we may be taking the Lord’s name in vain.  Earlier we covered the meaning of “taking something in vain”.  That led us to “abusing, misusing, and perverting” something.  All three aspects were covered with respect to the Lord’s name.  One area of discussion under the category of “perverting God’s name” was left for now.
On June 28, 2014, newspapers all over the world reported on a major decision made by the Malaysian government.  I read my account of it as found in the National Post column written by Robert Fulford.  Robert Marshall Blount Fulford, OC is a Canadian journalist, magazine editor, and essayist. He lives in Toronto.  This particular piece was entitled, The Lord’s name, in vain.
In it, Fulford informs us of the following:
·      Malaysian courts have made it illegal for Christian to refer to God as ‘Allah’ verbally or in writing
·      Many Muslims celebrated the news indicating they would defend the word Allah as theirs to the last drop of blood
·      Much of the world sees the two as synonymous and Allah as an Arabic term for God
·      In recent years Muslims have come to regard the word Allah itself as sacred, untouchable by non-believers in Islam
·      On this occasion, as on many occasions in recent times, the conservative, hyper-sensitive version of Islam won a considerable victory
·      Authorities claimed that the word “Allah” in a Christian context might confuse Muslims, causing them to become Christians
·      Malaysian politicians spend their days worrying about problems of racial and religious differences and their evenings congratulating themselves on how well they’ve solved them
·      Abdullah Zaik, the head of a passionate Muslim-Malay rights organization, has said the Christians should, in the name of national unity, set aside their stubbornness. Mohd Sani Badron, a leading Islamic scholar, has said that the use of “Allah” for “God” must stop because it “erroneously represents the two religions as equal” and may cause Islamic anger. Another leading Muslim said that Christians who go against the ruling are deliberately “trying to cause chaos,” raising the possibility of disharmony
·      This bizarre form of Bible censorship is another way of reminding Christians and Buddhists that they are not to consider themselves legitimate citizens of Malaysia
·      If a government in the West dared to intrude into an editorial decision on the publishing of the Koran, and if the courts supported that position, Muslims would be furious, and with good reasons.  But in many Muslim majority states a similarly outrageous decision is considered entirely within the rights of government.
So now you have the story and how at least Robert Fulford feels about it.  But here’s my take.  The only thing I can say is, “Amen!”  Why did it take the Malaysian government to force Christians to stop doing something that they should not have done on their own account?  And here’s where I lose some of you as promised . . . I believe substituting the word Allah for our one and only true God is indeed perverting the name of the Lord.  If you’re still with me, let me explain why I believe that.
When one takes on the use of a word that comes from a religion which is a) anti-Christian, b) anti-Judaic, and c) further wants to eliminate those who do not want to become Muslims, then there is no way we are talking about the same God, and the use of Allah should therefore not be used by us.
Secondly, if as I believe many Christians who do use Allah, as a substitute for God, do so for the purpose of aligning themselves with Muslims in order to reach them, then they are compromising on who God is.  He does not need a pseudonym for His impact to affect people – even Muslims.  Many are turning to Him without the need for His witnesses to refer to Him by the word Allah.  As Christians, we are so good at compromising our tenets and our ways and watering down our beliefs in order to attract more to our faith.  We could well take a lesson from Muslims in that regard.
Now let’s look at some of the things that Fulford informs us about:
  • Of course, as Christians it would be wrong for us to make it illegal for our own people to refer to God as ‘Allah’.  We are not that kind of religion.  And we are not a political force.  But that should have happened out of our own collective free will.  It did not, because too many were interested in taking a pluralistic approach to God.  That was a mistake.
  • We could learn from the celebrating Muslims and be ready to state that we would defend the name of the Living God, our Lord to our last drop of blood.
  • We need to stop seeing ‘God’ and ‘Allah’ as synonymous. Others do not and in that we should agree.
  • God’s name to us must be sacred and we should object to those using it in vain much more than we do.
  • Not only are Muslims possibly confused when Christians use the word ‘Allah’ but I believe we are slowly confusing our current and future generations of Christians when we say it is okay for us to use the word ‘Allah’ for our God.
  • Perhaps we would all live in greater peace if we kept to our God and let the Muslims stick to their ‘Allah’ and thus allay the fear of many Islamic politicians who worry about problems of racial and religious differences causing trouble.
  • I am not sure we should do it in the name of national unity as Abdullah Zaik calls for, but Christians should set aside the use of the name of Allah as God because it should be us that does not want to erroneously represent the two religions as equal, not them.  They are anything but.
  • As Christians we should not be trying to cause the chaos they accuse us of by stealing their nomenclature for their deity.
  • And Christians do indeed need to be reminded that not only may they not be legitimate citizens of Malaysia, but we need to realize that ultimately our citizenship is in heaven, not on earth.
  • Finally, let us be thankful that most of us live in countries where such an “editorial decision” on the publishing of the Koran would never take place.  I pray that this remains the case.
For all of the above, I would say thank you to the Malaysian government for the action they took recently on this topic.  We, as Christian believers should have been there long ago.

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