Sunday, August 19, 2007

5 ’Elul 5767: Root Beer Float Day/Potato Day

Greetings.

Divine misconception of the day: “Roman Catholic Bishop Wants Everyone to Call God 'Allah'” To be blunt, this is a monumentally bad idea, and to see why, let us discuss why “God” is itself a bad term.  Originally identified as YHWH (the God of Judaism, or at least the Greek equivalent Theos was in the Septuagint), the term “God” has gained the annoying feature that it can be used to refer the chief or unique deity of almost any religion.   This makes it easy to gloss over very real differences between YHWH, the Christian Trinity (or just the First Person thereof), Allah, the Mormon Godhead (or just the First Person thereof), Ahura Mazda, Brahman, Vishnu, Shiva, Kali, the God of Aristotle, etc.  The result makes it easy to misapply attributes (or lack thereof) of one deity to another or slip into unfounded syncretic notions.  It is because of this slipperiness that I have taken to avoiding using “God” in favor of the more specific “YHWH” in writing and “HashShem” in speech, which are very clearly the God of Judaism without connotations of the Christian Trinity  or other Supreme Deities.  “Allah” has the inverse problem of “God”:  it is specifically the name of the God of Islam.  While in Islamic countries “Allah” may have similar properties to “God”, it most certainly does not in the West.  A Western non-Muslim calling their Supreme Deity “Allah” is essentially adopting an Islamic conception of whom they worship; even if there is an explicit rejection of Islam, the term “Allah” carries the Islamic connotations, whether people acknowledge them or not.  Better everyone call their Supreme Deity by their traditional name and avoid the names from other religions like the plague.

Today’s news and commentary:Today’s weird thing, oddly appropriate for someone whose on-line pseudonym is frequently “Hiergargo”, is “If you dig straight down, where will you end up?”. Enjoy and share the weirdness.

Aaron
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