YOURSAY | ‘While some will see what we all have in common, others will see the things that divide us.’
David Dass: People of different faiths believe what is revealed to them in their holy books.
Christians believe that Christ was the son of God. Muslims believe that he was a prophet but not divine in nature. For Muslims, Muhammad was the last prophet. For Christians, he was not.
Buddhists believe what the Buddha taught. And Hindus believe in the writings of sages and seers handed down through the generations, and so on and so on.
There are probably common exhortations about how one must conduct oneself through life in all religious teachings.
While some will see what we all have in common, others will see the things that divide us. The choice is ours. Whether it is about drinking alcohol or something more fundamental, it does not really matter.
Most of us will say if you drink beyond the limit permitted by law, do not drive. Most of us will abhor drunkenness and bad behaviour. But few of us will try to score religious points in making an argument about why we should not drive whilst under the influence of alcohol.
Many of us believe that we can enjoy a glass of sherry or wine - whether it be red or white - without being in breach of some religious law. And of course, not drive.
There were no motor vehicles at the time these holy books were written. It was just camels, horses, and donkeys. And if you rode any of them when drunk, you simply got lost.
Proarte: There is freedom of speech in a civilised democracy, and Parliament should be a place where there are no “no go” areas with regard to free speech.
However, it is the height of stupidity - notwithstanding having a string of degrees from various Islamic centres of learning - for Pasir Puteh MP Nik Muhammad Zawawi Salleh to say the Bible is “distorted” just because it does not agree with his patently false notion that there is zero-tolerance for alcohol consumption in Christianity, based on his personal Muslim belief system.
It is true one can selectively quote verses from the Bible which condemn inebriation or drunkards, but any half-intelligent person knows that this applies to anything when done to excess or taken to extremes.
Using Zawawi's logic, should we now ban the consumption of sugar or rice because taking excessive amounts can predispose us to diabetes and the harmful effects of this condition?
The Pasir Puteh MP is entitled to his opinion that the current Bible is a distorted version of the original. Putting aside that he did not provide any proof that this was the case, I firmly believe he should not need to apologise for his views.
On his part, Zawawi must understand that everyone is entitled to their own beliefs, and all practitioners of any belief system must not be allowed to impose their individual beliefs on others.
Malaysian Heart: There is a difference between drinking alcohol and still being in control of your senses and actions, and intoxication, which is drinking too much alcohol to the point of being drunk and therefore losing some amount of control in your senses and actions.
Drinking and driving is certainly something I don't condone. If you want to drink outside your house, then don't drive. Simple as that. That's common sense.
There is no need to bring in religion and worse still, telling others that their scriptures are distorted unless you are ready to accept them saying the same of your scriptures.
Zawawi, you claim to have studied comparative religions, but from what you are saying, I very much doubt how much or what you have really learned. A person who claims to have studied comparative religions would not come up with such statements as yours.
FairMalaysian: Once I had a discussion with a seminarian, someone who was doing his PhD in comparative religions.
He was from Spain and, I, being Hindu (there is no such thing as a Hindu religion) turned free-thinker, I was awed at his persuasive explanation on the subject - comparative religion.
It also dawned on me that the subject can be somewhat misleading; it depends on the religious background of the person.
Just so you may understand this better, take the case of Islamic preacher Zakir Naik who claims to be someone knowledgeable in the area of comparative religions, but that comparative study is with Islam placed on a high pedestal and the others not so.
It will largely depend on the individual's bias that would be at fore. In the case of Zakir Naik, despite his feeble attempt in being “cursory”, it means more of being critical.
I won't need even 10 minutes to put Zakir Naik in his place, but that will come at a very high price - it will undoubtedly earn the wrath of my Muslim friends and may even be contravening our laws. At the end of the day, Zakir Naik is not such a prize for me to burn my bridges with my fellow Malaysians.
The premise of Zawawi’s argument is flawed, at least in the Malaysian context. It is not the question of how much he knows about other religions which he thinks is enough for him to comment.
The delicate balance of religious co-existence warrants that "you don't talk about mine and I don't talk about yours". This guiding principle has kept our nation at a distance from the fire that could consume us.
He may indeed be knowledgeable about Christianity as part of his study on comparative religions or as he says that Nabi Isa indeed is one of the prophets in Islam, but when you breach the line of respect, you are also opening the door for others claiming to air views about your religion that may stir the hornet’s nest.
I think Zawawi is not such a person who can accept criticisms about the religion he professes from someone who also makes similar claims. The best and sane thing to do is not to cross the boundary.
This is not a question of right or wrong but to remind ourselves of being part of a nation that has been spared the ugly episodes of religious confrontation, be it inter or intra-religious divisiveness.
I had earlier mentioned that he should say sorry and move on. Maybe the time has come for the authorities to have a pep talk with him.
GoldenGiraffe4932: Zawawi is right. He does not condemn any religion here. One must read his statement with an open mind.
IndigoKite6964: Sure, he does not condemn any religion. He just misrepresents it and insults all Christians that their holy book has deceived them because it is inaccurate.
So which is worse? Condemn that the religion is false or tell all its followers that they are complete fools?
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