Popular Religion and fullness of life

The five assertions with regards to doing mission in Asian context provides guidelines and wisdom for today’s missionaries.

Thiagarajah and Longchar, Visioning pp 147 – 159

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How to bring the religions in Asia closer to one another

The main reason why religions were diversified and last its vision and meaning for its existence – The denominational differences of taday’s religions derive from cultual differences of the communities adhering to them and not from the teaching of the founders.

Thiagarajah and Longchar, Visioning pp. 79 – 93

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Asian Christian Theological TAsk in the midst of other Religious Traditions

Ecumenics (Oikomene – the whole inhabited earth.) Bringing together diverse culture, and community not by imposing unity like the global empire is doing right now. unity for the good of all. It is mutual respect, cooperation and harmonious relationship.

Anotone, Living in Oikomene

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Response to RCAP

Relevant and sufficient ang RCAP’s 11 proposition na nailahad subalit Inadequate ito sapagkat hindi pa naisama ang church Apathy. Ang grupo ng uts alab ay nais idagdag ang church apathy dahil napansin ng grupo na ang church ay walang sariling tindig sa mga social issues dahil ang iniisip ng imperial church ay ang self- convenience nito.

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Exclusivity and Inclusivity

Exclusivity according to Raimundo Panikkan in his essay Christian So – Called “Non – Christian” is the plurality of doctrine and the steadfastness of adherence to faith. He further stated that Christian have no monopoly of goodness, truth, and salvation. We agree but have some reservation with the farmer. Exclusivity for the western id to look at God separate from humanity. Faith cannot be lead, it is to be stored to fellow human unrespected  of belief and ideology. Dialogue should focus on Love, Justice, and Righteousness not on its Doctrine and Belief in order to arrived into a common consensus toward unity.

A Methapor of Dialogue: Asian people are known for their spirit of religious tolerance and peaceful co – existence. Without denying the existence of bitter tensions and violent conflicts, it can still be said that Asia has often demonstrated a remarkable capacity for accomodation and a natural openness to mutual enrichment of peoples in the midst of a plurality or religions and cultures. Antone, Hope A. Religious Education in Context: of plurality and pluralism Copyright 2003 by New Day publishers.

According to Tom Michel, a Catholic missionary priest for many years in Indonesia and Thailand, this interreligious dialogue has been carried on in Asia in various forms. First is the Dialogue of Being – being a positive presence among others for the simple sake of being with other. Second is the dialogue of Doing – doing joint actions in response to issues affecting people regardless of their faith or religious affiliation, e. g. peace, justice human rights, dealing with calamities, etc. Third is the Dialogue of Ideas – sharing and exchange of ideas through joint studies for common and mutual understanding, for widening of horizons and perspectives. Fourth is the Dialogue of Experiences – sharing of deep human and religious experiences for mutual enrichment in faith and spirituality. Many Asia, he said, have carried on one or more of these forms of dialogue in their own ways without naming them as dialogue. Michel, Tom “The Challenge of interfaith Dialogue,” CTC Bulletin, vol. 16, no. 1, November 1999.

According to Bob McCahill, that More and more, attention is directed toward “the dialogue of Life”. Deeper appreciation for dialogical living is being fostered in the church. There is greater recognition of the diallogue that takes palce when we live with one another, as when, for example, Christian live among Muslims, and Hindus in Bangladesh. The dialogue goes on when we communicate our hopes and fears to one another, or when we speak about whatever is on our minds. The dialogue also goes on when we only observe others. Their every public action, their example – good and bad – reveals their character and their faith. Our Actions and example reveal the same to them. Like it or not, we are partners with Muslims and Hindus  in dialogue. In Bangladesh, a Christian can avoid dialogue only by absenting himself or herself from this environment wherein Muslims, Hindus and Christians live side by side. McCahill, Bob. Dialogue of Life: A Christian Among Allah’s Poor. New York; Orbis Books, 1996

A meal table is the best symbol of warm hospitality in as such, it is by itself very inviting. A meal table is very open and inclusive. A meal table is natural place for sharing and communion. A meal table is often a symbol of reconciliation and peace making. A meal table also symbolizes freedom for it is difficult to enjoy the feast while wearing a mask a table. A meal table also represents a sharing of gratefulness and a celebration of joy. A meal tbale also represents a visions, a dreams and a hope. Antone, Hope A. Religious Education in Context: of plurality and pluralism, New Day Publishers 2003

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Inclusivity and Exclusivity in inter-faith dialogue, and ecuminical and evangelical in the Asian context

Exclusivism is an attitude of one against all. Religious arrogance is the view that one particular alone teaches the truth and constitutes the way to salvation or liberation. Inclusivisim is “one above all”. Religious imperialism. Is a response to the limitations of primitive exclusivism. this position makes room for others and otherness while trying simultaneously to retain the preeminence of one’s faith. it holds one’s praticular tradition as presenting the final truth. While other traditions are seen to simply reflect some aspects of that final truth (John Hick).

Religion, has always acted as an unseen power that leads individuals and communities into relationship and faith. Religions have brought people from various background into one fold as Muslims, Hindus, Buddhist, Christians, etc. Creating and promoting an ecumenical relationship among all these religious fold has become a prime concern among the theologians in Asia- a land beautified by varietis of religions, culture and people.

In relationship and dialogue, each religious tradition is specific and the spicificity and respect is needed. (Aloysius Pieris).

In Asian context of religious plurality while there are specific religious communities like Hindus, Buddhist, Christians, muslims and so on, there is no concept of “religious community” of a place that cuts accross all religious traditions. However, the emergence of the inter-faith movement many parts of the world has given new meaning to the concept of religious community in a given place, made up of different communities of faith. These communities have not only developed an internal dynamics of growing together but also begun to adress issues that are common to all people in the community (S. Wesley Ariarajah).

Any impartial examination of the history of religions will show that people of different religions have never been able to come together, repsct one another, and work hand in hand for the building up of a united world. The denominational differences of today’s religions derive from the cultural differences of the communities adhering to them and not from the teaching of the founders (Anthony Fernando).

In South East Asia people of many religions living together in harmony and happily. But when Capitalism & consumerism have come to dominate the world. People are cut off from meningful relationship with those around them. Individualism and greediness promted at the expense of sharing in a community(Sulak Sivaraksa).

Thomas Michel, S.J. says that the sad reality is both Christians and Muslims are constantly struggling to live in obedience to prophetic message recieved. He suggest that dialogue is all about the talking together – our magnificent ideals and our all-too-often sad realities, our sincere efforts as well as our shameful failures, our wonderful experiences of god’s love and our selfish refusal to share that love with others. We are constantly failing, constantly being called back to repentance, and God’s forgiveness constantly standing in need of god’s grace which alone can tranform our personal and communitarian lives.

Bibliography:

Antone, Hope S. RELIGIOUS EDUCATION IN CONTEXT: of PLURALITY and PLURALISM, copy right 2003, by New day Publication

Thiagarajah, Daniel S. and Longchar, A. Wati, eds. , VISIONONG NEW LIFE TOGETHER AMONG ASIAN RELIGIONS, Praogramme Area on faith, Mission and Unity – CCA, Hong Kong 2002

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Judaism, Islam & Christianity: Differences and similarities

Judaism and Islam are orthoprax religions to the extent that each places fundamental emphasis on law and the regulations of community life, the Jews according to Torah, the Muslims according to Shari’a, parallel instructions based on revelation and interpreted by repected specialist scholars. Christianity, in contrast, is orthodox becuase it has traditionally placed greater emphasis on belief and its intellectual structuring in creeds, cathechism, and theologies.     Islam has maintained a more consistent system of fundamental beliefs and practices than any other world religion including Judaism. (Denny, Frederick M., Islam, Harper and Row Publisher, San Francisco)

Is the God of Islam and the Gospel the same: Can only rightly be yes!, and No! Yes as the common ground of all messages in partial unison: No in so far as our conviction is divine. (Craggg, Kenneth, Muhammad and the Christian, Publisher Darton, Longman & Todd Ltd., 1984

Is the God of ISlam the same as the God of Christiannity? It seems clear that Muslims and Christians worship the same God. Some Christians contest this affrimation, but no Muslims disagree with it. If we do not worship the same God, then we must find another name either God or our God. Allah, the word for God in the Qur’an, is the same word used by Arab Christians in their religious life. to say that we worship the same God does not mean that we share the same interpreations of the mystery of God’s nature, of course there are enormous differences of understanding. Do Muslims believe in sin? Yes, but they do not believe in original sin as that concept is held by many Christians. To Muslims, sin is the disobedience of responsible human being to the law of Almighty God. It is caused by human witness, by forgetfulness and by spirit of rebellion. The centrality and reality of the one true and living God is the basic rallying point for Christian and Muslims. Living daily as conscious and grateful recipients of the gifts of an Almighty and gracious creator, we have a scope for mutual understanding as broad  as any human experiences.  We talk about God with many as the same words:  Just, true, beneficent, wise, powerful, loving, holy, exalted, all hearing, all knowing. We both believe in prophets as God’s instruments in human history to draw men and women into the life of faith. Both faiths invite their believers to a life of prayers and worship, in grateful and dutiful response to the goodness of God. Muslims and Christians are people of scriptures, even though their holy are different. R. Marston Speight, God is One: The Way of Islam, Friendship Press, New York 2001

Christian Faith confesses Jesus Christ to be the sole mediator between God and mankind (1 tim.2:5; cf. jn. 14:6, Acts 4:12). this confession has traditionally implied the rejection of cliams tha a saving knowledge of God may be found in non-Christian religions such as Hinduism and Buddhism. Such a denial of the presence of revelation and salvation in other religions has been widely revised or abandoned in recent decades, partly as a result of the indifferentism fostered by endemic theological liberalism and the quest for universal harmony, leading perhaps even a single world religion, pursued through inter-faith dialogue.      Islam alone among the great world religions has had continous and wideranging contact with Christianity throughout history. arabia, the cradle of Islam, was surrounded by Christian countries and civilizations. The Qur’an addresses itself to Christians. while recognizing particular qualities such as humility (5:850 and a degree of commonality (2:136; 29:460, it criticizes certain basis Christian beliefs including the devine sonship of Jesus Christ and the doctrine of the trinity.      The primary problem of the largely Jewish early church was not its attitude to Jewish religious backgrounds, but rather  the question of Gentiles becoming believers in the God of Israel and in the Jewish Messiah. Despite the Dangers of a weakened Christology and of isolationism, Jews feel the importance of a clear Jewish identity in the Christian church. (Ferguson, Sinclair B. and David F. Wright, New Dictionary Theology, (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press) 2000, c.1998)

Islam is pre – eminently a religion of law; and it would be easy to conclude that the attainment of salvation must depend on the quality of obedience to that law which characterizes the life of individual concerned. In the Judaism of the Old Testament, on the other hand, the sacrificial system clearly held a central place, and the national Day of Attonement became the most important day of the year. Jews sought in penitence to recover a favour, a relationship he had once known and had now lost owing to his sin. the whole sacrificial system was an evangelical sacraments of forgiveness and deliverance, were entirely God’s work, never man’s. It was that man was doing anything to please or approprioets an enigmatic and uncommitted God who had not so far shown his hand. But the Apostolic teaching about this vital matter was crystal clear. The blood of Bulls and goats could never atone for human sins (Hebrew 10:4), and the value of the whole sacrificial system – was two fold: First as an indication and a symbol of that repentance and faith without which, as the Old Testament prophets had passionately proclaimed, no religious obervance was of any value whatever; and then as sign post forward the unique sacrifice of the lamb of God who was to come, of which of all  the sin – offerings and Passover lambs were mere foreshadowings. Anderson, Sir Norman, Christianity and World Religions: The Challenge of Pluralism, Inter – Varsity Press Leicester, England; Downers Grove, Il. USA

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