Allah or God?

This news report from the BBC peaked my curiosity (below). It is about a church in Kuala Lampur that uses the word ‘Allah’ to refer to God in their services. The Muslims are not happy about that and are saying that this will cause ‘confusion’. Click play to watch the clip:

This reminded me of the continuing court case between the NSA of the Baha’is of the United States and the Orthodox Baha’i group in the US. The NSA lost the case last year and has appealed the case – everyone is waiting for a decision any minute (day, month, etc.) now.

Similar to the Muslim Malaysians, the NSA is asking the Court to enforce a previous ruling which gave them the sole and exclusive rights of the word “Baha’i”.

I’m not making this up. How I wish I was!

They’ve gone after them in fine litigious style befitting Scientology. The NSA’s aim is to prevent a small group of people from using the word Baha’i – claiming in the presented evidence before the court that it would ‘confuse’ people.

The NSA has already lost once. And once the appeals court ruling arrives, they may very well lose again. But I’m not referring to an unfavorable verdict. Although by any sane stretch of the imagination, one wonders how in the world the term “Baha’i” can be the sole exclusive property and trademark of an organization when other words like Christian, Muslim, Jew, etc. are in the public domain.

No, what I mean is that the Baha’is of the US will lose the PR battle – as they already have. Take a look at this article from the Chicago Tribune (thanks to Baha’is Online for highlighting this article).

“The word Baha’i carries with it implications for a certain sets of beliefs — and we have to protect that,” said Robert Stockman

Can you imagine for one second the Roman Catholic Church suing the Protestant Church over their concern that they had the monopoly on what the word “Christian” means, and that this means it has to be protected?

For some strange reason the Office of Public Information from Wilmette refused to talk to the newspaper about this article. Instead they turned to Robert Stockman, a US Baha’i. For all his best intentions, Stockman comes across as loonie as a Scientologist. I can’t imagine he would have gone on the record unless he was given the approval from the NSA to talk to the press. Which makes his ramblings all the more odd.

If you’d like to know what this is all about, read this original post with detailed background information about the Orthodox Baha’i court case.

The Challenge of Homosexuality – Part Deux

a-mans-jobIdeas are like hugs – much better when they are shared. And minds are like umbrellas- they work better when they are open.

With that in mind, I hope the discussion continues from the previous location: The Challenge of Homosexuality.

As I explained, the reason for this change of venue is to rescue my poor, exhausted mySQL database from the non-stop barrage you have put it through. At around 650 comments I was afraid it would finally give way one of these days and take the whole blog with it. I’ve taken other measures to fortify the blog but won’t go into the boring technical details.

We leave the discussion with Steve requesting some clarification from Farhan. Masud suggesting that the UHJ has “self-executing” privileges and does not need to legislate on everything. And we hear that Ted Haggard is not gay! (he just keeps on having sex with men). Oh and Daniel brought to our attention a petition for LGBT rights.

If that isn’t enough to kick things off here, indulge me in sharing something I read recently on Baha’i LiveJournal; suivreletoile wrote…
Continue reading

Open Yale: Introduction to the Old Testament

open-yale-courses-logoHave you ever wanted to study at Yale? Now you can. For free. And at your own pace.

Yale has put quite a few of their world class lectures online for anyone to use. They have quite a few courses with more being added. You can see the complete list here.

I’ve always been interested in studying the Old Testament but have never had access to a quality source. With Open Yale courses, this is no longer a problem.

This course examines the Old Testament (Hebrew Bible) as an expression of the religious life and thought of ancient Israel, and a foundational document of Western civilization. A wide range of methodologies, including source criticism and the historical-critical school, tradition criticism, redaction criticism, and literary and canonical approaches are applied to the study and interpretation of the Bible. Special emphasis is placed on the Bible against the backdrop of its historical and cultural setting in the Ancient Near East.

The course is taught by Prof. Christine Hayes:

yale-old-testament-online-course

Here is a comprehensive list of similar courses from some of the best universities around the world: free online courses

Isn’t the internet wonderful?