Showing posts with label Q&A. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Q&A. Show all posts

Tuesday 19 December 2017

Understanding the Jerusalem issue

Understanding the Territory of Israel

Another Q&A by Capt Dr Thirunavukkarasu Jr R Karasu

1) What is Zionism?

A) Zionism is the belief in the Jewish people’s right to self-determination and to reestablish their homeland in a geographical territory called Israel.

2) What is this territory of Israel?

A) It is the same area that corresponds to the Biblical Canaan in the region of Palestine.

3) What is "Zion"?

A) Zion is just the name of a hill in the city of Jerusalem.

4) Does the Biblical Israel have a capital?

A) Yes, it is Jerusalem, also known as the City of David (Daud in Islam), in reference to Israel’s second king.

5) What are the objectives of Zionism?

A) There are four. 1) To reestablish Jewish administrative sovereignty within Israel. 2) To restore Jewish culture, the Hebrew language and religion (Judaism), 3) To gather those exiled, and 4) To liberate Jews from anti-Semitic persecution.

6) Does Zionism oppose the Palestinians?

A) In principle No. But they oppose any attempt to subvert their nationhood, whether from Palestine or other countries.

7) Why does Zionism create conflict in the Middle East?

A) It doesn’t. The conflict is created by people who want to destroy Israel, and Israel needs to contain this threat.

8. Is “Zionist” referring to the Israeli military?

A) Nope. Zionism is Not: 1) Military operations, 2) Denying Palestinians’ the right to their own self-determination, or 3) Promoting religious conflict with the Arabs.

9) Why is Zionism such a bad word in Malaysia?

A) Because our government wants Malaysians to continue hating the Jews and Israel.

10) Are you saying Malaysia is an anti-Semitic country?

A) Yes. Of all 10 ASEAN countries, Malaysia is the most disgracefully anti-Semitic country, along with Brunei.

11) What proof you have that Malaysia is anti-Semitic?

A) In 1993, Malaysia banned Schindler’s List, an Oscar-winning movie that portrayed a historical account of the horrific Jewish Holocaust. The excuse was that the movie will “make Malaysians sympathetic to the Jews”.

12) Who said that?

A) None other than the chief anti-Semitic and PM-wannabe today, Mr Kerala kaaka Tun Mahathir.

13) Then why are the political parties also anti-Israel, not just UMNO but even MCA and MIC?

A) UMNO has to because they need to appear to be “defenders of the Arabs” to shore up popular support after their embarrassing corruption exposures. MCA and MIC are just faithful lap dogs pandering to their political masters for political survival.

14) But the Opposition also hates Israel. Why?

A) Because they are the same racists who want to program citizens into hating the Jews and everything associated with it - with the usual excuse that Zionism is against Islam.

15) Are Christians Zionists?

A) By definition, yes because our Bible exhorts us to bless and pray for Israel and the peace of Jerusalem. Jesus Christ Himself was Jew and all Jewish prophets worshipped God in Hebrew.

16) Why is the UN against Israel?

A) The UN itself is a grouping of anti-Semitic countries, which has traditionally sought to destroy Israel through a series of lopsided censures while promoting the Arab Agenda. Thankfully, the US vetoes most of these attempts.

17) Any proof? Or you just saying it because you are pro-Israel?

A) Let’s look at a case example. In 1975, the UN General Assembly passed Resolution 3379 that designated Zionism as a “form of racism”. And then it repealed it in 1991 by Resolution 46/86 which now criminalises opposition to Zionism. Why? Because the UN itself now admits that opposing Zionism effectively means opposing a people’s right to self-determination.

18) If the present Israel never existed before 1948, why is there a need to give them their own country?

A) The political goal of Zionism is based on one key premise (as laid by Theodor Herzl): 1. Antisemitism features in ALL societies where Jews live as minorities. So the only way to guarantee their safety is to segregate themselves into their own country.

19) Why are the Jews always rejected everywhere in the world before Israel?

A) Since the 1st century, most Jews lived outside Israel, even though the Biblical Canaan always maintained a small percentage of Jewish population (called the Remnant in the Bible). The first time Jews got expelled was from Babylon’s occupation of Israel in 586 BC (Babylon is the old name for Iraq). The Romans subsequently expelled the remaining Jews from Judea. And then changed the name Judea to ‘Syria Palaestina’ - which is where the name ‘Palestine’ comes from.

20) So Palestine is a Roman creation after it expelled the Jews and redesignated the borders?

A) Yes

21) Do any of the other Holy Books assign Israel to the Jews?

A) Absolutely. It’s in all the Holy Books in Judaism, Christianity and Islam i.e. the Hebrew Bible, Greek Bible and the Quran respectively.

22) What does the Bible say about Islam?

A) Nothing. There is NO mention of Islam in the Bible nor is there any mandate given to wage war with Muslims. Zionism does not seek war with anyone. Israel is strictly a land issue and the belief that Jews have the right to self-determination after being exiles for millennia.

23) So Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is not something new?

A) Correct! It is, in fact, one of the most overdue decisions since George Washington became the first President of the United States.

24) What is the Balfour Declaration that our politicians love to quote?

A) It is a Declaration by the British government in 1917 that endorsed the creation of a Jewish homeland in Palestine. The Jewish side was headed by Chaim Weizmann, who later became the first President of Israel in 1948.

25) Did the Balfour Declaration have any multilateral backing?

A) Yes. In 1922, the predecessor to the UN, the League of Nations adopted the Declaration and gave Britain the mandate to establish a Jewish homeland and develop self-governing institutions, and safeguard the civil and religious rights of all who reside in Palestine, including Christians and Muslims.

26) So who ‘started’ it first?

A) This one is tricky. Arabs will say it was the Israelis who “started it first” and Israelis will say the Arabs “started it first”. So let’s look at the facts. In 1947, the UN recommended that Palestine be partitioned into 3 areas: 1) a Jewish state, 2) an Arab State and 3) a UN-controlled territory or “corpus separatum” around Jerusalem. This was adopted in Nov 1947 as UN General Assembly Resolution 181. But the Palestinian Arabs rejected the UN decision (despite a 65% voting majority) and demanded a Single Arab State in Palestine and expulsion of Every Single Jewish citizen. This was what led to the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. (So You tell me who “started it first”!)

27) How did the 1948 Arab-Israeli War start?

A) On May 14, 1948, David Ben Gurion declared “Merdeka” for Israel. 5 hours later, Seven Arab countries launched a cowardly joint attack (what else to call when seven guys gang up on one?). This led to 1 million Palestinian Arabs leaving Israel for security reasons. After Israel defeated all 7 countries, the Palestinians wanted to return. Unfortunately, Israel passed a series of laws that prevented those who left from coming back. These are the ones who remain refugees to this day.

28) Do all Muslims hate Zionists and the Zionist Agenda?

A) No. Many Muslim scholars publicly defend the Zionist Agenda, among them Dr Tawfik Hamid, the al Gama’a al-Islamiyya organization, Sheikh Abdul Hadi Palazzi, Sheikh Tasbih Sayyed and so on. Also, some Muslim communities like the Kurds (who were gassed by Saddam Hussein) and Berbers also openly express support for the Jewish right to self-determination. Even leading Palestinian Organisation scholars like Asad Shukri (father of PLO founder Ahmad Shukri) opposed the PLO’s anti-Zionist activities. He was also the first to condemn the strategy of using Islam to condemn Jews and their right to live - which was started by Mohd Aminal-Husayni, a close aide of Yasser Arafat.

29) What about Muslims in non-Muslim countries?

A) In August 2007, the President of the Organisation of Imams in India, Sheikh Maulana Jamil organised a delegation to Israel. They subsequently signed a joint declaration rejecting the lie that the Israel-Palestinian conflict is a war between Islam and Christianity/Judaism, admitting that it is no more than a land dispute that can be resolved peacefully.

30) Can a Malaysian support Both Israel and Palestine?

A) Yes of course. Again, it is purely a territorial dispute and need not involve religion. Many of us still believe in the “Two-State Solution” and that Israel can peacefully coexist with Palestine. It is hard but not impossible. Dialogue is the key.

Written by Servant of Christ, Capt Dr Thirunavukkarasu Jr R Karasu
December 2017

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Saturday 2 December 2017

Bible Frequently Asked Questions

Some Twenty-Five Typical Bible FAQs

One of the reasons Donald Trump is on my profile is because of his Administration’s unapologetic return to Christianity. He not only brought back Bible study and prayer into the White House but also recently told Americans to wish each other Merry Christmas instead of “Happy Holidays”.

I respect people’s right to atheism, or to believe or disbelieve anything. But one interesting trait about Facebook atheists is that they only dare mock Christianity - never the other religions. The more aggressive ones go a step further, sharing juicy tales about Jesus’ alleged relationship with Mary Magdalene, about how Roman soldiers “hid His body” (to deny the Resurrection of course), His “gay relationship” with the Apostle John etc. These are of course mainly from TV’s pseudo-intelligentsia - ranging from CNN to the History Channel.

So why is the world so obsessed with Jesus Christ? And why is everyone so angry that there are still millions of Christians who believe that Jesus is God?
Honestly, I don’t know. But what I do know is that many people are still confused with what the Bible is all about. So here are few typical Bible FAQs:

1) Why aren’t Christians leaving their faith despite continued attacks against Christianity by popular media?

A) Because our Bible has already mentioned that in the last days, the number of attacks against God will intensify.

2) Why do Christians still believe in God despite the “evidence” that God doesn’t exist?

A) Because Christians base their belief on something called ‘faith’, which means you can “prove” or “disprove” that what they believe is true or isn’t true.

3) Isn’t that what we call “blind faith” since Christians cannot see God?

A) The term “blind faith” is just a meaningless phrase created by people who can’t understand why people believe in something. For instance, they can’t “prove” their mother loves them either. And they can’t see electricity, magnetism or planet Pluto either. But they still believe in those things.

4) That’s stupid. You can prove your mother loves you from the way she looks after you. And you can prove electricity, magnetism and planet Pluto exists from mathematics.

A) Then it’s also stupid to say God doesn’t exist when God looks after us. Also, Stephen Hawking once ‘proved’ God exists through mathematics alone. (he proved that the simultaneous ‘creation’ of masses between 2 celestial bodies must be continuous to preserve the distance between them to ensure the relative gravitational forces between them stays constant).

5) Why is there no mention of things like dinosaurs in the Bible, or stuff about science, technology and significant events in history?

A) The Bible doesn’t mention dinosaurs as much as the Quran or Mahabharata doesn’t mention about the Apollo moon landing. Religious scriptures focus on the relationship between Man and his God, not history, geography, science or technology.

6) What about that silly story about Creation, Adam, Eve, the snake and the apple?

A) First, it’s not an apple but an unspecified forbidden fruit. Second, the story of Creation is intended to reveal the Ordering of the world as God destined, and how systems in external and internal environments came about. It is NOT a scientific account of how the universe came to be.

God knows that we are not quantum physicists and hence, spared us from unnecessary and irrelevant details as to how He works. Finally, the story of Adam and Eve, the serpent (not snake) and the fruit is not some cartoonish tale but an allegory of Man’s creation, his communion and eventual separation from God. The plan for redemption came about immediately after he sinned, not some “idea” that God had after Jesus came.

7) Is the Bible even relevant in this time and age?

A) You bet. It’s the world’s best-selling book of all time, and still sells up to 100 million copies annually. Total sales are above 5 billion copies over the past 4 centuries.

8) What is the Bible?

A) It’s a collection of sacred texts and scriptures that Christians consider to be divinely inspired to govern the relationship between God and Man.

9). How do you know the Bible is not just some fable written by a bunch of old Jews?

A) Altogether, there are 66 books written by different people from Moses to John, over a thousand years and spread over 1 million square miles of territory with no possible contact with each other. Over a thousand years, the stark consistency between the writings of each is statistically improbable, which makes the Bible a shockingly consistent account of all historical prophecies and predictions.

10) Then how come many Christians themselves are distancing from the Bible today and Sharing Facebook articles that discredit it?

A) Because they are frustrated with the Bible’s strong stand against issues they feel uncomfortable about. The Bible challenges their permissive attitudes towards things like abortion, drugs, homosexuality, and confronts their pro-liberal agenda. So they attack Christianity and the Bible instead.

11) What about the Crusaders, white supremacists and the Ku Klux Klan?

A) Christianity has nothing to do with the Crusaders, racists or the Klan as much as Islam has nothing to do with terrorist activities by Muslim groups, Hinduism with the mob attacks against Indian Muslims or Buddhism with the killing of the Rohingya people in Myanmar.

12. What good is the Bible when we can’t use it for anything?

A) You don’t “use” the Bible. It is not a magic book. It doesn’t cast spells or incantations. It is just a compilation of authoritative texts from divine origin that went through a normal human process of writing and editing.

13) If Christianity is correct, why is there Catholic and Protestant?

A) Again, the schisms in religion are common in all religions. That doesn’t negate the authority of the scriptures. Catholics look to the Bible within the context of sacred tradition and doctrine issued by Church fathers. Protestants focus solely on Scripture, nothing else.

14) So how do both view the Bible?

A) All Christians view the Bible as an infallible source of doctrine, though not necessarily accurate in history of factual details concerning the non-relational aspects of Man’s communion with God.

15) Why is there an ‘Old’ Testament and a ‘New’ Testament? Which is correct?

A) Both. The Old Testament describes Man’s attempt to reach God through his own works, while the New Testament describes God reaching Man through the saving grace of Jesus Christ. As Man’s attempt to reach God failed, the applicability of Christianity is contained in the New Testament. But the Old Testament still lays the basis of the New Testament as it contains many prophecies that confirm Jesus Christ as God’s final Revelation.

16) What is the Old Testament about?

A) The OT has 4 parts. Part 1 comprises the Torah, Part 2 the former Prophets, Part 3 the Latter Prophets and Part 4 the Poetic books.

17) What is the Torah (or Taurat)?

A) The Torah comprises 5 books, starting with Genesis that talks about Creation and God’s early relationship with humanity, His covenant with Abraham and how he led the children of Israel from Egypt to Canaan. The Torah also contains the 10 Commandments revealed at Mount Sinai.

18) Why don’t Christians apply the Ten Commandments anymore?

A) Because as the New Testament teaches, the Ten Commandments describe Man’s attempt to live holy and righteous through a series of Do’s and Don’ts alone. That failed, as works alone doesn’t guarantee the intent and motivation of the heart. Jesus however, fulfilled the entire Ten Commandments and hence, paved the way for direct Man-God communion through belief in His saving grace alone.

19) What is the former Prophets?

A) They are the books of Joshua, Judges, Samuel and Kings. They talk about the struggle of the Israelites to possess the land, Israel’s transition from a theocratic state to a monarchy, the succession of kings and the tragedy that fell on Israel that ended in foreign conquest and exile.

20) What are the Latter Prophets?

A) They are accounts from individual prophets called the ‘major’ prophets (Isaiah to Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel) and minor prophets (Hosea to Malachi).

21) What are the Poetic Books?

A) They comprise expressions of Man’s deep passions towards God, from love to anger to lamentations to despair to hope to joy everlasting e.g. Psalms, Proverbs and Job, Song of Solomon (but not to be confused with Jon Solomon), Lamentations, Ecclesiastes and Esther.

22) Ok now what’s the New Testament about?

A) The NT comes after the OT and is about the coming of God in the form of Jesus Christ, His life, His sacrifice, His resurrection and ultimately, the promise of His return.

23) Why is the Bible still relevant today?

A) Timothy 3:16 says “All scripture is inspired by God, and used for doctrine, reproof, correction and instruction in righteousness". It is the perfect Book to improve our shitty human characters.

24) How does Islam view the Bible?

A) In Islam, the Bible is held to reflect true revelation from God but in a manner that had been distorted (Arabic Tahrif), which necessitated the giving of the Quran to the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) to correct this deviation.

25) How do Christians respond to this Islamic precept?

A) We Christians reject the Islamic assertion owing to the verse in Hebrews 1:1 that says “in the past God spoke to Man through the prophets but in the last days, has spoken through his Son, Jesus Christ” - meaning there is NO further revelation AFTER Jesus Christ”. We are also warned and repeatedly advised to reject any other presumed addition to that which God had already revealed.

26) How do you know that the Bible’s written form is still exactly as it was intended?

A) Jesus said not one “jot nor tittle can be removed from the Law until all had been fulfilled”. The word ‘Jot’ refers to the smallest written letter in the Hebrew alphabet while ‘Tittle’ refers to the stroke that distinguishes letters e.g. a single stroke between the letter O and Q. This means Jesus Himself had 200% assurance that the written texts of the Jewish Law back in His time was 200% exact as the original Commandments given to Moses on Mt Sinai. This gives Christians the assurance that the present written form of the Bible’s King James version is already the full and completely accurate account.

27) So what do asshole Christians like Donald Trump and you really believe?

A) It’s as simple as A, B and C. We Christians believe that:

A) The Bible is the Word of God, meaning that God Himself, inspired, intervened and influenced the words, message, and collation.

B)The Bible may be inaccurate as far as science is concerned (as there was no need for God to give the prophets of old revelation pertaining to things like dinosaurs, geology, age of the earth, shape of the earth, the cosmos, study of the atoms and so on), but contains NO errors in matters pertaining to faith and practice towards the betterment of humanity, and

C) The Bible is written EXACTLY as how God intended it.
America was built on the basis of Christianity and the Bible, from the advent of the Pilgrim Fathers to the founding fathers to the written Constitution to the US Dollar Bill which says “In God We Trust”. And Trump’s Administration will continue to return American institutions to what was once the bastion of real Christianity, anchored with a strong and unshakeable conviction in the Bible, despite the perils and pitfalls that befall mortal men.

As such, the Bible will continue to inspire some of the greatest monuments of human thought, art, literature and music, and serve as the last line of defence against fundamentalism, extremism and human savagery brought about by evil men and their religions. It will continue to provide the ideological basis for immigrant societies and free them from regressive thought patterns, obsolete patriarchal attitudes, caste systems, poverty and violence against women and children.

Finally, the Bible will continue to inspire men and women to acts of great service and courage to ensure freedom and real liberation, develop human capital and most of all, provide a source of religious and moral norms to unite communities and help them care for one another.

God bless you all. Blessed Christmas and Happy New Year.

Written by Servant of Christ, Capt Dr Thirunavukkarasu Jr R Karasu
Hanoi, December 2017

Thursday 3 August 2017

Homosexuality, Christianity and Heaven

Question: Can you be a homosexual and still be a Christian and go to heaven? - anonymous

It should be clear after you’ve read it that homosexuality is not part of God’s plan for humanity. It is in fact one way a person can express their rebellion against our Creator. But that doesn’t answer your question in its entirety does it?

It is quite possible for a person to have very strong same-sex attractions - to have homosexual desires - and still be a Christian. Sometimes our personalities are the products of factors beyond our control. People can be raised in social circumstances that predispose them towards certain behaviour; we often pick up the attitudes of the people we are raised with on a whole lot of topics. Some people are born with obsessive / compulsive personalities, and that makes things like alcoholism or any other form of addictive behaviour much more likely, and therefore dangerous. Consequently a person can find themselves with homosexual desires and have no clear memory of ever making a ‘choice’ to be that way. That doesn’t make the behaviour right, but it does make it a lot harder for that person to resist.

It’s important to realise that it’s not a sin simply because you are tempted by something. It becomes a sin when we give in to those temptations. Jesus was tempted, just like us, but he didn’t sin - he didn’t elevate his desires over God’s (Hebrews 4:15). It’s also important to realise that just because we do sin, a person doesn’t cease to be a Christian. Jesus’ death on the cross for our sins represented a full, perfect and sufficient sacrifice for every sin that we have ever committed or will commit (Hebrews 9:24-28; 1 Peter 3:18).

The Bible also assures us that once we have trusted ourselves to Jesus, nothing - not even our own sins - can part us from him and our eventual home in Heaven because our salvation depends not on what we do, but on God’s promise to honour Jesus’ sacrifice (Romans 8:31-39). But a Christian is a person who has turned their back on sin and is no longer satisfied with the sinful life that was taking them further and further away from God. The Bible describes people who put their trust in Jesus as those who ‘put off the old self’ and put on the new life they now have because of him.

So you can see that it is possible to have a homosexual nature and yet be a Christian. But it is not possible to willingly practise homosexuality, thinking no more of it, and yet be a Christian. A Christian, when everything else is said and done, is a person who has chosen to follow Christ first.

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