The role of the Holy Ghost

PreviousSin and atonement [last part]

So far, we have discussed the question of Jesus the so-called Son and also God the supposed literal Father of Jesus. Yet there is a third person by the name of ‘The Holy Ghost’ who according to Christian dogma, despite having a distinct individual personality, is still amalgamated and so completely and eternally fused with the ‘Father’ and the ‘Son’ that their merger creates a singleness in three. Now we turn our attention to this question by inquiring whether the Holy Ghost has an ego separate from the God or Jesus, or do they share one single ego? Ego can be described here as the ultimate of consciousness, which in the final analysis, is indivisible and specific to each individual. The same ultimate awareness of one’s being as distinct from others gives birth to ‘I’, and ‘my’ and ‘mine’, as against ‘he’ and ‘his’ and ‘you’ and ‘yours’.

Bringing into focus the three parts of Divinity, we must resolve whether the three have distinct egos of their own or not. If they do not have distinct separate egos, then to attribute to them personages would become inconceivable. Each person, however close he may be to another, has to enjoy a separate individual consciousness of his being.

The official position of most churches is very clear and well-defined, claiming that each of the three entities of God’s personage had a distinctly separate personage of its own. So it is not just ‘Three in One’ it is three persons in one person. The bitter encounter of Jesus with death and all its fateful consequences must have been equally shared by the Holy Ghost. So also, he should have been included in the sacrifice along with Jesus. Again, he must have suffered hell in the company of Jesus and God the Father. If not, then one cannot escape drawing the inevitable conclusion that not only were they three distinct and different persons but also their emotions and faculties relating to head and heart must have been different, separate and insulated from each other.

In trying to further our vision of the Trinity we should attempt to visualize the fact of three persons merging together or existing as merged together eternally as one. So far we have failed to see how they could have merged in their emotions and thought processes.

The only option left, therefore, is a merger in the body. It reminds us of a hydra headed monster on a different scale, mentioned in the Greek mythology, which possessed many heads that grew again when cut off. Of course, man cannot understand the true nature of God and how His attributes function within, but it is very easy and simple to believe in one single entity without specific areas to which certain functions are attributed and confined, like head, heart and kidneys etc. But the scenario of separate individual thoughts and feelings is certainly at variance with the afore-mentioned scenario of a single entity. It creates an image of God which is very difficult to believe and conceive for human beings, many of whom have lived long with Christian dogma without questioning it and have somehow shut their eyes to such glaring violations against the human intellect, supposedly created by God himself.

 

The role of the Holy Ghost next

Pray tell (by Nadeem F. Paracha)

January 23, 2011 (Dawn Opinions)

Oh, my, that label again: ‘Liberal extremist.’ What on earth does it mean? Absolutely nothing. Great wordplay and deliciously idiosyncratic, but that’s about it.

However, since the popular electronic media in Pakistan is usually about a rather nihilistic strain of whatever it considers to be news and analysis, this topsy-turvy label has become the catch-all term of a number of TV anchors, hosts and, ahem, analysts.

So, then, what is a liberal extremist? How many Pakistanis do you know who advocate the abolition of faith, legalisation of cannabis, the creation of nude beaches, support gay marriages or… oh, okay, so this is not what you mean. Then what? If you guys who have suddenly become so fond of this phrase mean by it Pakistanis who emphasise reason over passion (especially in political and theological matters), or who find religion synonymous with humanitarianism, tolerance and compassion, or who like political parties that they support to retain a degree of secularism, or those who cherish the concept of social and religious pluralism and diversity, if these are the dreaded liberal extremists so many Pakistanis have suddenly started moaning about, then I pray for me to become one of the finest liberal extremists in this land of the pure.

So, can one suggest that what passes as being plain old liberal elsewhere becomes liberal extremism in Pakistan? There is another innocent question I would like to ask of all those who have been swinging their fists by suggesting the following brilliant insight: ‘The problem in Pakistan is religious extremism and liberal extremism.’

If so, then pray tell, dear sirs and madams, exactly how can one couple the two phrases in the same sentence? To begin with, one can safely suggest that those you call liberal extremists constitute an embarrassingly minute percentage compared to the glorious blooming and flowering we have seen of what are called religious extremists.

Over and over again we have heard and seen the delightful things faith-based extremists advocate, preach, feel happy about and shower rose petals for, but what have the malicious liberal extremists to gloat and float about? I’ve heard arguments (and that’s about it) from the liberals in the following cases, but no liberal extremist distributed sweetmeat when Dr Aafia was convicted; never saw this extremist chant ‘yea, baby, let’s have more,’ when the news of a drone attack breaks; never seen one claiming that such or such person should be killed just because he or she disagreed with the liberal extremist. Sure he or she may have a sympathetic argument about what their counterparts may consider to be treason, sacrilege, etc., but that’s it.

Kindly stop using this term, liberal extremists, as if it was an indigenous made-in-Pakistan media masterstroke. The term first began being used in the US during the 1970s. It was coined by some ultra-conservative Republican politicians and Christian evangelists against certain mainstream American newspapers, TV channels and filmmaking circles. These guys from that country’s far right in politics and religion thought that the American media and Hollywood were brimming with atheists, agnostics and liberals who were soft on the Soviet Union (mostly because the media was opposing the war in Vietnam).

It was a lunatic fringe whom the then liberal American media suspected of having extreme political and religious views, and this fringe retaliated (in typical knee-jerk fashion), by calling their detractors as liberal extremists. This term was again used during the conservative Reagan years in the 1980s against mainstream media outlets who were opposing his overtly laissez faire economic policies and his arming of the paid mercenaries to topple the revolutionary leftist regime in Nicaragua.

By the end of the Cold War (1990), the liberal extremist tag was hung around social and environmentalist groups that began agitating against large multinational corporations and ‘globalisation.’ The media in this respect was finally let off the hook and the reason was simple. With the arrival of such monsters like FOX-News and SkyNews, things in this respect were turned on their heads when it was the media that began adopting this term for detractors of corporate capitalism and the new millennium’s ‘neo-con’ polices.

In Pakistan it was the military dictatorship of General Musharraf who first used this term. In many of his apologetic speeches he defended his (albeit half-baked) actions against extremist religious organisations by adopting the old 1970s American ultra-conservatives’ mantra of being against both extremes (religious and liberal). However, the irony was that genuine liberalism (that the American conservatives used to call liberal extremism in the US) was almost non-existent in Pakistan.

Right-wing apologists of faith-based extremism now found in abundance in the FOX-News like environment in Pakistan’s electronic media have simply picked up where Musharraf had left: Blame the large-scale presence of both state sponsored and populist, civilian extremism in the country on the handful of vocal liberals by calling them liberal extremists. Of course, intoxicated on the delusion that they have discovered a perfect explanation to defend their sheepish defence of violence-prone extremism, they conveniently forget it is not liberal extremists blowing themselves up in public places or showering rose petals on killers.

by Nadeem F. Paracha

اسلام اور توہین رسالت کا قانون

Some of my friends asked me to write my posts about blasphemy law in urdu language, so I am posting this summarized version of all my posts about blasphemy law in urdu.

(click on the image to enlarge)

Make hay while the sun shines

The sun is shining on the (so called) clerics of Pakistan. Since the infamous murder of the ex-governor of Punjab, it has been a power show for them on the streets of every major Pakistani city. Every major religious group is involved in either protesting or striking. Their claim, stop amendment in the controversial blasphemy law. The government on the other hand has been repeatedly saying that it is not going to amend the law at all, yet the strikes and progressions continue, shutting down markets, schools and colleges in the city.

I fail to understand this, coming from the ones who claim to be religious and tolerant. Not only are they disrupting daily life in those areas, some of the legally banned organizations have joined their progressions and are active again. Shockingly, neither of the (so called) religious leader notice it nor they condemn their participation. Their followers, as always, illiterate and ignorant of their surroundings.

Rally against amendments

courtesy "The News Pakistan"

These (so called) clerics are ripping Islamic values apart by disturbing daily lives of thousands of people living in the city. Many people who live on daily wages are unable to go out for work, children are being deprived of education, yet no one is asking these clerics, are these actions ‘Islamic’? The nation is failing to understand the fact that Islam is being maligned by these (so called) clerics. They are ‘too busy’ expressing their emotions over the ‘intent’ of amendment in blasphemy laws which time and again have been clarified by the government.

Pakistan is already going through a rough period, inflation is rising, employment is drying up, murders are common, robberies are widespread, number of rape cases is increasing but they are non-issues to the clergy, which should be leading the standards of morals in any society. Sadly they are busy making hay while the sun shines.

Again in the end I will quote the same prophecy I quote every time I speak of the (so called) clergy.

The Prophet of Islam (peace be upon him) told us 1400 year ago:

“There will be a decline in religious faith and nothing would be left of Islam except its name and nothing would be left of the Holy Qura’an except its text. Mosques though full of worshipers will be empty of guidance. The religious scholars will be the worst creation under the canopy of Heaven”.

(Mishkat-ul Masabih, p.88 & Kanaz-ul Ummal, vol.6 p.43).

If this is not that time, then I don’t know what is going to be worst than this.

What are you complaining for?

Pakistan PassportThese days, living in a foreign country with a green passport requires a lot of effort and caution. While we are already foreigners in that country, the cold response from the local community creates a much more alienated environment. A simple phrase, for instance ‘I am from Pakistan’ in a public place will turn alot of heads around you.

Recently a friend of mine lost his patience, when a ‘gora’ started hurrying his children away from him at a local market and started taking out his frustration on a ‘gora’, dubbing that ‘gora’ racist, narrow-minded, proud and many ‘other’ titles. When I heard his story, I was felt shocked and grieved. Shocked on the part of that ‘white’ man who was living in a country which is leading the campaign to remove racism, a country which boasts itself as a multi-cultural and a multi-racial country.

My grief was towards the behavior of my fellow countryman. True the ‘white’ man could have been racist but did we ever try to win their confidence? Within the past 63 years, did we as a nation contribute anything towards human kind? Rather we took huge lumps of loan from the international community, just to feed our hungry politicians! Do we have any inventor / innovator to celebrate? (I dearly wish we could claim and celebrate the likes of Professor Dr. Abdus Salam, whom our ancestors turned their backs on).

In their country, murder is a serious case, their law enforcement agencies don’t rest until the criminal is found and put to justice. In our country, hundreds of innocent people are murdered on daily basis, yet our law enforcement agencies are nowhere to be found. We are still unable to determine who or ‘what’ is causing the target killings in Karachi.

How is it their fault that they see us burning assets and properties of our own countrymen in order to record our ‘protest’ over an issue. Why is it that our politicians always run towards these regimes rather than their own constituencies to gain confidence?

Literacy rates are lower than any average country, education system is faulty, our nation is divided into class, religious, political and theoretical groups, our currency is a mess, our economics is going down the drain, our streets are filled with garbage, sewer systems aren’t proper, nearly half of our countrymen live below the line of poverty and yet, inflation is still on the rise.

Suicide rate is high, people are gunned down in broad daylight. In the presence of all these issues, the ‘religious leaders’ are only content to safeguard the controversial blasphemy law, their argument, “Because there is rule of law, hence we should not talk about changing blasphemy law”. On top of that, many in our nation are singing for their ‘hero’ the murderer ‘Mumtaz Qadri’.

These ‘goras’ they just don’t see us individually, they picture us as a whole nation. It isn’t their fault they have a horrible image of us in their imagination. The fault lies within us. If I am wrong, then pardon me for taking your time. But if I am right, then what are you complaining for?

Sin and atonement [last part]

PreviousSin and Atonement [Part – 6]

Meaning of Death in Relation to Christ

Having clearly understood the different options regarding the relative roles that the Divine and the Man in Jesus could have played, we try to comprehend the application of the word ‘death’ and its full meaning in relation to him.

If he died for three days and nights, then death has to be understood in terms of the soul having been severed from the body, and the soul departing. Which means that the soul must depart the body and break off its relationship so completely that only a very dead corpse is left behind. So far so good. Jesus was at last relieved of his imprisonment in the carnal body of a man. However, liberation from this imprisonment should not be considered a punishment at all. The return of the divine soul of the ‘Son’ to the same sublime state of existence cannot be treated in any way like ordinary human death. Human death is fearsome not because the soul leaves the body and severs the ties by gaining a new consciousness, but the horrors of death are mainly on the account of one’s permanently severing ties with many a dear ones left here on earth, and leaving behind one’s possessions and different objects of love. Many a times it so happens that a man who has nothing to live for pefers to die rather than live an empty life.

In the case of Jesus, the feeling of remorse could not have been present. For him the window of death was open only in one single direction, that of gain and not of loss. Why should his departure from the body be considered an extremely pitiable and agonizing experience? Again, if he died once and literally, not metaphorically, gave up the ghost, as the Christians would have us believe, then returning to the same body is the most unwise step attributed to him. Was he reborn when he returned to the body that he had abandoned during the hour of death? If this process is only to be described as revival or resurrection of Jesus, then the body should also have been eternalized. But what we read in the Bible is a completely different story. According to that story Jesus was resurrected from the dead by entering the same body in which he had been crucified and that was called his regaining of life. That being so, what would be the meaning of the act of his abandoning the body once again? Would that not be tantamount to a second death?

If the first departure from body was death, then most certainly the second time he is considered to have abandoned the human body, he should be declared eternally dead. When the soul abandons the body first time, you call it death; when it returns to the same body, you call it life after death. But what would you call it when the soul leaves the same body once again never to return—will it be called eternal death or eternal life according to the Christian jargon? It has to be eternal death and nothing more. Contradiction upon contradiction. A very nerve wrecking experience indeed!

If it is suggested that the body was not abandoned the second time, then we have the strange scenario in which God the Father exists as an infinite incorporeal spiritual being while the ‘Son’ remains trapped in the restricted confines of mortal existence.

Limited Suffering for Unlimited Sin

It may be suggested that it is not always the pangs of conscience which create a miserable state of mind and heart in those who are sensitive to their faults. On the other hand, intense sympathy for the sufferings of others may also create a life of agony for someone who is totally or partially innocent of crime, but has that sublime spiritual quality of suffering for the sake of others. That would also create a similitude of hell. Mothers suffer for their ailing babies. The human experience stands witness to the fact that sometimes for a permanently disabled child the entire life of the mother is turned into a living hell. So why cannot we concede to Jesus that noble quality of being able to suffer for the sake of others? Why not indeed. But why only three days and nights? Why not for his entire sojourn on earth and even before and after that. Noble people do not suffer only temporarily for a very limited period of hours or days. Their hearts do not rest in peace unless they see misery mitigated or alleviated entirely. The hell which we are considering, is not the prerogative of an innocent divine person only, it is a noble quality shared to some degree even by the beasts of the jungle for their near ones.

After a few more remarks I will rest this case, but I have one other important issue to briefly touch upon. The punishment prescribed by God for Jesus Christ, only lasted for three days and three nights. While the sinners for whom he was punished, had committed sins so horrible and for so long that according to the Bible, their punishment was to be eternal suffering in hell. So what sort of a just God was it that when it came to the punishment of those created by Him, people who were not His sons or daughters, they were to be punished eternally? But when it came to the punishment of His own ‘Son’, for sins he had voluntarily taken upon himself, suddenly the punishment was reduced. Only three days and three nights. No comparison whatsoever. If this is justice then let justice not be. How would God look at the conduct of human beings, He has Himself created with His right hand, if they dispense justice as they learned it from Him? Applying different measures to their own children and very different to those of others. Will God the Father watch this loyal imitation with ecstasy or horror? Very difficult indeed to answer.

What Did Atonement Change?

As far as the effect of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ in relation to the punishment of sin is concerned, we have already established that faith in Jesus Christ has in no way reduced the punishment of sin, prescribed by God, for Adam and Eve and their progeny. All human mothers still bear their children with the pains of labor and it is still with labor that man earns his bread. If we consider it from another angle, a broad comparison between the Christian and non-Christian world since the time of Jesus Christ. No believers in Christ can show a remarkable change, in any period of history, of their women delivering their children without pain and their men earning their bread without labor. They do not show any difference in this regard in comparison to the non-Christian world.

As far as the disposition to commit sins is concerned, the world of believers in Christ compared with the world of non-believers do not record any evidence that the dispensation to commit sin is totally obliterated among the category of believers in Christ. In addition to this, one may indeed wonder why having faith in God is considered so inferior to having faith in His ‘Son’. This is especially relevant to the time before this tightly kept, age old secret, (that God had a ‘Son’), was disclosed to mankind. Of course there were people who had faith in God and His Unity. Also innumerable people were born since Christ in every religion and land of the earth, who believed in God and His oneness. Why didn’t faith in God bear any influence on human crime and punishment? Again why could not God the Father display that nobility of suffering for the sake of sinners which His nobler ‘Son’ displayed? Most certainly the Son seems to possess higher moral values (God forbid!) than his less civilized Father. Is Divinity evolving and still in the process of attaining perfection, one may ask.

 

The role of the Holy Ghost next

The art of deception

Fareed Ahmed ParachA few days ago, I was watching a recorded program called “Faisla aapka” recorded on 8th January 2011 by Samaa News. The topic was tolerance, two participants of religious views and two participants of liberal views were invited to debate on the after math of the incident of 4th January 2011. One of the clerics while defending blasphemy law justifies it from the Holy Qura’an quoting verses from Chapter 33 (Surah Al-Ahzaab).

I was shocked to see that Mr. Paracha (from one of the politico-religious parties) was so confident when he was distorting the verses and the audience was applauding him for that, while the show host and the other cleric (from Sunni Tehrik) was backing him up referring to Chapter 9 of the Holy Qura’an. Let me explain to you what Mr. Paracha was referring to from the Holy Qura’an:

[33:56] Allah and His angels send blessings on the Prophet. O ye who believe! you also should invoke blessings on him and salute him with the salutation of peace.

[33:57] Verily, those who malign Allah and His Messenger — Allah has cursed them in this world and in the Hereafter, and has prepared for them an abasing punishment.

[33:58] And those who malign believing men and believing women for what they have not earned shall bear the guilt of a calumny and a manifest sin.

[33:59] O Prophet! tell thy wives and thy daughters and the women of the believers that they should draw close to them portions of their loose outer coverings. That is nearer that they may thus be distinguished and not molested. And Allah is Most Forgiving, Merciful.

[33:60] If the hypocrites, and those in whose heart is a disease, and those who cause agitation in the city, desist not, We shall surely give thee authority over them; then they will not dwell therein as thy neighbors, save for a little while.

[33:61] Then they will be accursed. Wherever they are found, they will be seized, and cut into pieces.

— Surah Al Ahzaab

As you can see here, clearly Mr. Paracha is deceiving the crowd and imposing his views of the Qura’an. What he does is, read the first two verses and then joins verse 61 with verses 57 and 58, which ofcourse changes the entire context of the message. Allah (God almighty) is clearly saying that He alone is the one to punish those who malign Allah and Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). To understand the rest of the argument one must know the pretext of this chapter(Surah Al Ahzaab). It deals with the vicissitudes through which Islam had to pass during the early years of the Prophet (peace be upon him) in Medina. The Jews of the surrounding tribes gave a hard time to the Muslims, even those tribesmen who were included in the pact of Medina didn’t leave any opportunity to create mischief. Those are being referred to as hypocrites. The main weapon in their armory against Islam, was spreading of false news to friendly tribes. This was an act of treason not blasphemy, the punishment for treason was capital punishment.

Now let us see what is written in Chapter 9 (Al-Taubah) to which the second cleric is referring to.

[9:12] Will you not fight a people who have broken their oaths, and who plotted to turn out the Messenger, and they were the first to commence hostilities against you? Do you fear them? Nay, Allah is most worthy that you should fear Him, if you are believers.

[9:13] Fight them, that Allah may punish them at your hands, and humiliate them, and help you to victory over them, and relieve the minds of a people who believe;

— Surah Al Taubah

Again, if viewed in context of the verse number 12, it makes total sense. It isn’t directed towards blasphemers, it is clearly saying about those who break their, oaths, these were the Jewish tribes which were included in the pact of Medina. No where in the above two verses does Allah (God almighty) asks the Prophet (peace be upon him) to kill any blasphemer. None of the Muslims try to research the references these clerics give out. This points out to two things, Muslims lack knowledge of the Holy Qura’an and Islamic History and two, they blindly follow what the mullah tells them. It was for times like these the Prophet (peace be upon him) predicted.

“There will be a decline in religious faith and nothing would be left of Islam except its name and nothing would be left of the Holy Qura’an except its text. Mosques though full of worshipers will be empty of guidance. The religious scholars will be the worst creation under the canopy of Heaven”.

(Mishkat-ul Masabih, p.88 & Kanaz-ul Ummal, vol.6 p.43).

%d bloggers like this: