Tag Archives: Christianity

Chrismas message from Pope Francis

The Christmas message from Pope Francis was filled with rhetoric and masked genteelly the proselytizing agenda of the Church. The Pope has invited non-believers to come to the fold of Christianity exhibiting his aggressive style masked in his mild manners. Invoking a biblical quote from Luke which assures peace only among those whom the Christian God favors, the Pope set the tone of his Christmas speech.

Christmas directs, according to the Pope, Christians to bring every one to Christ. The Pope wants Christians to resolve to give their lives towards this goal (of evangelizing). The Pope defined peace in his speech as a daily commitment starting from Jesus Christ.

Pope Francis, unveiled a baby Jesus statue promoting another idol of worship for Christians around the world. He called missionaries to focus on vulnerable children, especially victims of war without loosing focus on elderly and the sick. He focused on women and stressed on battered woman setting the agenda for Christians to destabilize Islamic and Hindu societies. His message confirmed the continuation of Church strategy to push legal changes to intervene in Muslim and Hindu families around the world.

Pope Francis prayed for peace in Syria, Central African Republic, South Sudan, Nigeria, and Israeli – Palestinian conflict and Iraq. He also prayed for displaced and refugees of Africa and eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, specifically mentioning killings of Lampedusa. The prayer calls were focusing on Islamic countries and tragedies involving mainly Muslims indicating the intensity of focus of the Church on Muslims in the near future.

Overall, Pope Francis has insisted, as the head of the Catholic Church, his focus on the goal to bring the entire world under Christianity. He has done it strictly within the framework of Christian theology and world view. The western media, as usual, has projected his speech passively and positively providing false hopes to the public. The media of the Islamic and Hindu world, continue to neglect the message overlooking its overtones.

Religion v/s Democracy deadlock continues

Suspected Christian adherents in United States of America released a movie and Leftist news paper in France published caricatures.  Muslims world wide react violently  to the depiction of Prophet Muhammad.

On the 11th anniversary of 9/11, Bacile, who is either an American Christian or a Jew, released on Youtube a 13-minute trailer for a two hour short movie, titled “Innocence of Muslims” Its Arabic translation was made available from some unauthenticated sources. The movie and its trailer has created unrest in Egypt and resulted in the killing of US ambassador in a rocket launch attack.

Prophet Mohammad in Innocence of Muslims movie

The scenes in the trailer portrayed the prophet Muhammad as a buffoon, suicidal, gay, lascivious and condoning of pedophilia. “Our prophet had 61 wives — 11 at the same time. He even had a girlfriend!” That’s the opening line, delivered poorly by a man almost definitely in brown-face makeup. “Every non-Muslim is an infidel. Their lands, their women, their children, are our spoils,” Muhammad says in one scene. Characters refer to him as a “bastard” and in one scene, a veiled woman asks Muhammad to “put your head between my thighs.” The film claims Muhammad was a fraud. His obedient followers are presented as a cadre of goons. It depicts Muhammad as a feckless philanderer who approved of child sexual abuse. The movie depicts the prophet mohammed sleeping with women, and as a feckless philanderer who approved of child sexual abuse, talking about killing children and referring to a donkey as “the first Muslim animal” and asks the creature if it likes the ladies. The movie has scenes implying the Koran was not divinely inspired, but drafted from verses plagiarised from the New Testament and Torah.

The movie, both English version and its Egyptian Arabic version, has an amateur cast. The voice and the audio appears to be artificial and edited. Critics of the movie allege that insults about the Prophet Muhammad are disguised as revelations in dialogues. Th ere are doubts expressed now about the identity of the producer of the movie.  Actors of the movie have expressed ignorance about the intent of the movie and have regreted the violence reactions the film has created.

Front page of the French Magazine Charlie Hebdo showing a Jew pushing the prophet in a wheel chair

A Satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo has hit the news stands on Sept 19th 2012 with a cover showing an Orthodox Jew pushing the turbaned figure of Mohammad in a wheelchair. The weekly carries a total of four cartoons which include images definitely intended to represent Mohammed, as opposed to any other Muslim. In two of them, the Prophet is shown naked. One is inspired by Jean-Luc Godard’s 1963 film Contempt and features the naked Prophet asking the director “You like my buttocks?” – parroting a line delivered by Brigitte Bardot in the film. Another shows the founder of Islam crouched on all fours with a star coming out of his behind with the inscription “A Star Is Born.” The film references were an attempt to satirise the crudely-made short film Innocence of Muslims, which has triggered the worldwide protests.

Charlie Hebdo’s editor, Stephane Charbonnier, has defended the cartoons. “I’m not asking strict Muslims to read Charlie Hebdo, just like I wouldn’t go to a mosque to listen to speeches that go against everything I believe,” he said. French prime minister Jean-Marc Ayrault has called for “responsibility” and said anyone offended by the caricatures could sue. But he made it clear there would be no action against the weekly. “We are in a country where freedom of expression is guaranteed, including the freedom to caricature,” he said.

The left-wing, libertarian publication’s offices were firebombed last year after it published an edition “guest-edited” by the Prophet Mohammed that it called Sharia Hebdo.

Focussing on Bible translation in North East

Missionary work is actively pursued in Northeastern states.

The Bible has been translated into 57 languages in the region and the figure is expected to touch 100 by Christmas 2011. The Bible has been translated so far into Adi, Anal Naga (Pakan), Angami Naga, Ao Naga, Assamese, Bengali, Biate, Boro, Bru, Chang Naga, Dimasa, Gangte, Garo, Hmar, Galo, Hrangkhol, Hmar, Karbi, Khasi, Khiamnuingan Naga, Komrem, Konyak Naga, Kuki and Kyong Naga (Lotha), Liangmai Naga, Lamkang Naga, Lai, Manipuri (Meitei), Mara (Lakher), Maring Naga, Maram Naga, Mao Naga, Mizo (Lushai), Moyon Naga, Monsang Naga, Nokte Naga, Paite, Phom Naga, Poumai Naga, Rabha, Ranglong, Rengma Naga, Rengma (North) Naga, Rongmei Naga, Sumi Naga, Sangtam Naga, Sema Naga, Tangkhul Naga, Tangsa Naga, Thadou Kuki, Thangal Naga, Thangkhal, Tiddim Chin, Vaiphei, Yimchungru Naga, Zeme Naga and Zou (Zomi). The Bible was first translated into Assamese in 1820 that the latest translation was in Nokte, a language spoken by an indigenous group in Arunachal Pradesh.

Jesus is referred as Isua in Mizo, Yisui in Ao, Jesun in Thadou, Isu in Hmar, Poupa Jesu in Paite, Isuan in Ranglong, Jisunii in Maram and Pakai Jesu in Kuki.

The Northeast has diverse languages and the translation project is meant for those who are in need of the Bible. It could be noted that the Bible is the basic foundation of Christian faith. The aim is to make it available to those who aspire to read it. Even though the owners of the project insist that translations are not aimed at popularising Christianity, the demand for translation of the Bible is being created in a consistent way. The holy book is selling hugely among Mizos after it was translated in their language.

The new principle of translation aims at transferring the content into local idioms and expressions. The idea is to reach out to all sections, the young and the old, the learned and the barely literate and the womenfolk. The translation is done meticulously to ensure that the text of the Bible is not diluted. Each indigenous community nominates a linguistic scholar to translate the Bible into its language. The Bible Society of India has a team of experts that compares the translated version of the Bible with the Old Testament in Hebrew and New Testament in Greek. The translation is approved only after the content matches the original text.

China set to appoint Bishops without Popes approval

China’s government-backed Catholic church will proceed with the ordination of a bishop who does not have the pope’s approval, despite objections raised by the Vatican. The Rev. Guo Jincai will be ordained in Chengde, in northeastern Hebei province, on Saturday, 20th Nov 2010. The ceremony is organized by Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association.

Communist China forced its Roman Catholics to cut ties with the Vatican in 1951, and worship is allowed only in state-backed churches, although millions of Chinese belong to unofficial congregations loyal to Rome. In recent years under Pope Benedict XVI relations have improved. Disputes over appointments in China’s official church have been avoided by quietly conferring on candidates, leading to several ordinations of bishops with the Holy See’s blessing.

However, Guo does not have the pope’s approval. The Vatican also said it was “disturbed by reports” that a number of bishops loyal to the pope are being forced by government officials to attend the ordination. It warned China that reconciliation efforts will be set back if the reports turned out to be true.

Liu said attendance by bishops at the ceremony would be voluntary and the ordination would go ahead as planned because the Chengde diocese needs a bishop. He said the association had informed the Vatican about its plan as early as two years ago. “A Catholic diocese cannot be without a bishop, or the Gospel cannot be spread,” Liu said. “We should not let any political reasons interfere with the spread of the Gospel in China.”

He said in time, China would elect bishops for more than 40 Catholic dioceses that are currently without them and expressed hope that the Vatican would endorse them. Liu maintained that the pope was “very friendly” to China but that some others in the Vatican were not. Recent estimates by scholars and church activists put the number of Chinese Catholics loyal to the pope as high as 60 million – three times the size of the official church.

Source: Washington Post

Christian woman sentenced to death for blasphemy in Pakistan

A Pakistani court has sentenced a Christian mother of five to death for blasphemy, the first such conviction for a woman, sparking protests from rights groups yesterday. Asia Bibi, 45, pictured, was condemned on Monday by a court in Nankana, a city in Punjab about 75 kilometres west of Lahore. Pakistan has yet to execute anyone for blasphemy, but the case spotlights its controversial laws on the subject, which rights activists say encourage Islamist extremism in a nation wracked by Taliban attacks. Ms. Asia’s case dates back to June 2009, when she was asked to fetch water while working in the fields. But a group of Muslim women labourers objected, saying as a non-Muslim, she should not touch the water bowl. A few days later , the women told a local cleric Ms. Asia made derogatory remarks about the Prophet Muhammad. The cleric went to police, who opened an investigation. Sentencing her to hang, Judge Naveed Iqbal “totally ruled out” any chance Ms. Asia was falsely implicated and said there were “no mitigating circumstances.”

via Christian woman sentenced to death for blasphemy in Pakistan.

Google to bring Dead Sea Scrolls online

Sections of the Dead Sea Scrolls at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem

The Dead Sea Scrolls, among the world’s most important, mysterious and tightly restricted archaeological treasures, are about to get Googled.

The technology giant and Israel announced Tuesday that they are teaming up to give researchers and the public the first comprehensive and searchable database of the scrolls – a 2,000-year-old collection of Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek documents that shed light on Judaism during biblical times and the origins of Christianity. For years, experts have complained that access to the scrolls has been too limited.

Once the images are up, anyone will be able to peruse exact copies of the original scrolls as well as an English translation of the text on their computer – for free. Officials said the collection, expected to be available within months, will feature sections that have been made more legible thanks to high-tech infrared technology.

“We are putting together the past and the future in order to enable all of us to share it,” said Pnina Shor, an official with Israel’s Antiquities Authority.

The Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered in the late 1940s in caves in the Judean Desert and are considered one of the greatest finds of the last century.

 After the initial discovery, tens of thousands of fragments were found in 11 caves nearby. Some 30,000 of these have been photographed by the antiquities authority, along with the earlier finds. Together, they make up more than 900 manuscripts.

 For decades, access to 500 scrolls was limited to a small group of scholar-editors with exclusive authorization from Israel to assemble the jigsaw puzzle of fragments, and to translate and publish them. That changed in the early 1990s when much of the previously unpublished text was brought out in book form.

 Restricted access

But even now, access for researchers is largely restricted at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, where the originals are preserved in a dark, temperature-controlled room.

 Shor said scholars must receive permission to view the scrolls from the authority, which receives about one request a month. Most are given access, but because no more than two people are allowed into the viewing room at once, scheduling conflicts arise. Researchers are permitted three hours with only the section they have requested to view placed behind glass.

 Putting the scroll online will give scholars unlimited time with the pieces of parchment and may lead to new hypotheses, Shor said.

 “This is the ultimate puzzle that people can now rearrange and come up with new interpretations,” she said.

 Scholars already can access the text of the scrolls in 39 volumes along with photographs of the originals, but critics say the books are expensive and cumbersome. Shor said the new pictures – photographed using cutting-edge technology – are clearer than the originals.

 The refined images were shot with a high-tech infrared camera NASA uses for space imaging. It helped uncover sections of the scrolls that have faded over the centuries and became indecipherable.

 If the images uploaded prove to be of better quality than the original, scholars may rely on these instead of traveling to Jerusalem to see the scrolls themselves, said Rachel Elior, a professor of Jewish thought at Jerusalem’s Hebrew University.

 “The more accessible the fragments are the better. Any new line, any new letter, any better reading is a great happiness for scholars in this field,” she said.

 ‘May spur new interpretations’

The new partnership is part of a drive by Google to have historical artifacts catalogued online, along with any other information.

 “There are artifacts in boxes, in museum basements. We ask ourselves how much this stuff is available on the Internet. The answer is not a lot, and not enough,” said Yossi Matias, an official from Google-Israel.

 Google has worked to upload old books from European universities and pictures of archaeological finds from Iraq’s national university. This project is different, Matias said, because access to the scrolls may spur new interpretations of the highly debated text and because the scrolls have a more universal appeal.

 For the last 18 years, segments of the scrolls have been publicly displayed in museums around the world. At a recent exhibit in St. Paul, Minn., 15 fragments were shown.

 Shor said a typical 3-month exhibit in the US draws 250,000 people, illustrating just how much the scrolls have fascinated people.

 “From the minute all of this will go online, there will be no need to expose the scroll anymore,” Shor said. “Anyone in his office or on his couch will be able to click and see any scroll fragment or manuscript that they like.”

 Much mystery continues to surround the scrolls. No one knows who copied these ancient texts or how they got there. The scrolls include parts of the Hebrew Bible as well as treatises on communal living and apocalyptic war.

Over the years, the texts have sparked heated debates among researchers over their origins.

 Some believe the Essenes, a monastic sect seen by some as a link to early Christianity, hid the scrolls during the Jewish revolt of the first century AD, Others believe they were written in Jerusalem and stashed in caves at Qumran by Jewish refugees fleeing the Roman conquest of the city, also in the first century.

via Google to bring Dead Sea Scrolls online – Israel Jewish Scene, Ynetnews.