Quoting the Bible

Anwar Ibrahim has been defending his recent visit to the Holy Family Church in Kajang.  Below is an excerpt from the TMI report:

Anwar who had quoted from the Quran while talking at the Holy Family Church, tonight quoted from the bible to drive home his point on religious tolerance.

Anwar quoted from the bible saying: “‘You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat.

“‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me: every tongue will acknowledge God‘,” Anwar read.

He said with the message that he had just sent, the public should stop judging one another and work towards understanding each other

It is clear that in this case, Anwar was talking about relations between Christians and Muslims. Anwar was speaking to a group of Muslims, so the “brother or sister” in the above quote would refer to the Christians.  Now, I find Anwar’s choice of biblical verses to quote from quite interesting. The verses are Romans 14:10 and 14:11.

The Epistle to the Romans was written by the apostle Paul and this particular chapter dealt with the tensions that had arisen in Rome at the time between the Jewish Christian converts and the Gentiles. The Jewish converts insisted on observing Jewish dietary customs and holy days which the Gentiles and Paul himself felt were no longer required by  their new faith. For this, the Gentiles had viewed them with contempt, and on their part, the Jewish converts judged the Gentiles for not keeping to the old laws.  Although Paul did not agree with the Jewish converts, he did not view them as being wrong because they were sincere in their belief. Essentially, what Paul was saying is that differences in things like food or sacred days were not important but their shared conviction in Jesus as their Lord and saviour was.

So, why would Anwar think that these verses are relevant to Muslim-Christian relations in Malaysia?  Does he liken today’s Christians and Muslims to the Jewish converts and the Gentiles that Paul was referring to?  Does he mean to say that the differences between Muslims and Christians are similarly inconsequential, and that what matters is their shared belief in the same God? Sure sounds like it to me.

You know what else it sounds like? Take a look at the definition below:

Religious pluralism generally refers to the belief in two or more religious worldviews as being equally valid or acceptable. More than mere tolerance, religious pluralism accepts multiple paths to God or gods as a possibility and is usually used in contrast with “exclusivism,” the idea that there is only one true religion or way to know God.

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One Response to “Quoting the Bible”

  1. grkumar Says:

    He said nothing of Hinduism and never will. He hates the Indians of Malaysia identified generally as Tamils many of whom are Hindus. Their faith and religion and culture pre dates the Judaeo Christian Gods and theologies. They borrowed and copied from Hindusim and made fables into “fact”. Indisputable fact “written by God”/ So much for religious tolerance. Anwar refered to the Indians during his arguments with Samy Velu as the Kelings. But not in Samy’s face once.
    Anwars real belief in the bible extends to the story of Sodom and Gomorrah. he is after all a Sodomite.

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