What is the difference between proselytize and evangelize?
According to definition of proselytize ..it is a verb that means to convert or attempt to convert (someone) from one religion, belief, or opinion to another.. A crime in only one religion of the world – Islam..penalty of which is very stiff.
Apostasy: the abandonment or renunciation of a religious belief.Penalty in Islam is death.
The only religion in the world with such heavy laws imposed on the followers as a deterrent , to instill a fear so deep that many will not even consider leaving their religion if they reside in a muslim country.
“The punishment by death in the case of Apostasy has been unanimously agreed upon by all the four schools of Islamic jurisprudence.”
A non-Muslim wishing to become a Muslim is encouraged to do so and anyone, even a father or a mother, who attempts to stop him, may be punished.
However, anyone who makes an effort to proselytize a Muslim to any other faith may face punishment.
Islam is a religion that does not like nor allow it to be questioned or scrutinized.
Islam is a pre emptive submission, pre emptive powering backed by the fear of force under threat from a blasphemous accusation
In Malaysia , is this the culture Islam is asking of those in relation to it , that will be more like a negation of the mosaic of what true multi- culturalism should be.
Religious diversity can only be achieved under a secular state with godless constitution,- secularism is the only guarantee of religious freedom.
Malaysia is a country with a multi ethnic religious backdrop that claims secular outlook to the constitution
But we seem to have a crisis in authority !
Un-certainty in how to manage the diversity can lead to many problems , and it may end up in division because, there seems to be a lack of progressive moderate leaders at the national level in Islamic affairs and it is as if whoever has the biggest audience has the sway , but these religious authorities all seem to be opposing political organizations and hence there is no singular authority for arbitration, who carries the unquestioning weight of religious authority and influence.
Political instrumentalization of religion will always be counter productive in the promoting of the true essence or spirit of the religion in question.
Having a muslim marjority and democratization to essentialized critical thinking and transparency in the process of the democratization , is crucial in evolving into a progressive contemporary Islamic moderate society.
But the Malaysian goverment – for those who have been paying attention to developments – has created the perception that they are perpetuating the fear of mental colonizing of religious indoctrination of a sect deemed extremist – as seen in their response and clampdown on purported Shia extremist?
Yet , it is against a backdrop of endorsing nationally, religious intolerance as witnessed in the Allah fiasco.
Contrasting and confusing rhetorical posturing in their political game plays.
Resulting in a mistrust of goverment’s intentions because these are reflective on the thinking of the goverment seeming to be more leaning on Islamic religious extremism than secularism and progressive thinking adaptable to religion and governance
(The “who wields the bigger stick” mentality or strategy seems to be used by UMNO/ BN across the board, whether in religious affairs within the Malay/ Muslim community (think PAS / Pakatan vs UMNO or Perkasa’s latest targets.) ” or in issues pertaining to other faiths involving Malaysians , and also racial issues..”UMNO vs the Catholic church/Christians and DAP..”
.One prescription for all the ills – UMNO just keep reminding all the communities by showing how big their “stick” is , And they are threatening to use it.! If they haven’t already, on the Christians )
Evolving of Muslims into new dimensions of Dynamism
If Malaysians adopt the 3 Ls, law, language and loyalty. Dialogue initiated by the Muslim marjority society will mean so much more if the muslims come out and say-” look, we are all Malaysian citizens , we abide by the law , respect the constitution , we want – equal treatment, mutual respect, for the rights of all..no discrimination for any religion or no religion at all”.
And it is how it should be , Malaysia as modern progressive Islamic society..Acknowledged internationally..
So many years in the making , for the BN goverment to try inculcating a better understanding of Islam in schools and workplace and society at large . So many generations of Malaysian non-muslims exposed to their fellow malaysians/muslims, via inter action in private lives/academia and professional capacities in work. As fellow businessmen , colleagues , as friends , social acquaintances , childhood buddies , fellow students. Foster parents/siblings.
Unique to our Malaysian multi cultural national environment .
Differing Attitudes and Approaches to Religion
Mainstream media in Malaysia does have content with religious themes . TV shows that introduced/showcased the attractive side of Islam as a noble way of life and a religion.
Yet conversions from the non-muslims to Islam in the country are miniscule or practically a non event , an estimated personal un-informed guess (unless there are more accurate statistics) is perhaps less than 0.5 % in a year from the general non muslim population…yet conversions to Christianity among non muslim Malaysians are high.
Why is that ?
The conversion rate to Christianity among Malaysians has even the authorities worried that the Muslims may defect, that drastic measures or preventive steps are deemed needed to be taken to ensure that a firm message is sent out to the Malaysian Muslims , that it is a heavy offence to repudiate the faith you were born into.
So worried are the Malaysian authorities of muslim proselytization that churches have been raided / holy books confiscated / certain Arabic terms in reference to the Islamic Almighty have been legislated to bar non muslims from using the words, just to make sure no muslims are ” confused ? ? ” or that they risk being converted .
In the zeal of religious piety and insistent stubborn rigidity of mindsets convinced of being in the morally high position..the religious zealots or purist have basically chosen to annihilate from their indoctrinated minds of racial and religious supremacy , the very basic concepts of mutual respect and acceptance of all Faiths and cultural or ethnnic backgrounds,the very uniqueness that gives us our identity as a multi cultural nation , the essence of being a Malaysian.
Is there a Crisis in principles or morality?
Either that, or our ruling politicians are so completely dis oriented in governing that for the sake of political expediency, they rather be without scruples, sacrifice their principles and the harmonious well being of all Malaysians, pitting the communities against each other ,so they can retain their power base.
Intentionally looking for all sorts of petty but controversial issues to stir up , that are emotional to the people, that will be sure to pinch on nerves , but serves no purpose whatsoever in fostering better relations among the communities , but on the contrary, serves to polarize and create friction and mis-understanding even more..
Another classic “Power and retaining it , takes precedence over everything else”.!
If indeed, it is the design, then the nation’s governing establishment is already “Bankrupt” in principles and morality and the nation’s financial situation is tenuously very close behind , and might suffer the same fate as well.
Yet why not the other way around? Why can’t it be that Islam can attract such large following and convinced many to follow the religion, why is it not the same with Islam.?
Unless you were born into the faith , the likelihood to convert into the Islamic faith in Malaysia among the non muslims are very slim. .
An attitude stemming from where and based on what sentiment ?
Just seems unbalanced between the churches and the mosques in the respective effort to win over hearts and minds of souls for God/Allah.
The marjority faith with the aid of Goverment have had so many years and facilities at their disposal, that if there was a concerted subtle effort to proselytize without compulsion , emphasizing on the virtuous compassionate peaceful side of the Islamic religion and using a modern approach of interpretation .Whom knows what the results may have been.
As with certain sectors in Christianity , the energy seems to be irresistable , for those who have been converted , they are absolutely convinced that the Christian God is so overwhelmingly enchanting powerful and intoxicating that the allure to want to follow such a magnificent supreme being and devote one’s life to HIM comes as a natural choice , when their spiritual yearnings and curiousity is aroused and get convincingly answered.
Which in the case for Islam , a beautiful religion . Seems to have suffered a raw deal at the hands of strict fundamentalist and the violent extremist and the ways of doctrinal interpretation that gives it an aura of authoritharianism and a very strict un-compromising, no-nonsense regime , imposing laws on limiting all sorts of liberties that may be the very stumbling block to those who are curious to seek to have a deeper understanding of the religion.
A most unfortunate circumstance and a misunderstood religion. Adherents to the faith don’t seem to possess as much zeal as their christian counterparts in efforts to bring the knowledge and spiritual intimacy of their faith and interpretation of God to the masses.
Still mired in their arrogant and stubborn ways of old . Unwilling to adapt to the pulse of modernity that can bring a whole new dimension to Islam that may strike a note to millions , so entrenched are the muslim clergy , set in their ways that any attempt to do so will be seen as imposition or worst blasphemous or insult.
as long as this attitude is in the pervasive midst , it is difficult that the faith will have many openly receptive to receive it. Perceiving it as a arrogant chauvinistic religion , segregating and asserting superiority and dominance of gender and also sanctity of scriptures cannot be challenged nor interpretated relevant to the times but must be literally taken in context despite the facts that the laws were designed for a whole different civilization/cultural value system , thousands of years past.
If Islam as with Christianity , allows itself to be modernized and teachings adapted to blend into the evolved modern society and retaining the core spiritual and humanistic values, it will indeed be so very appealing.
All religions champion the same values , philanthropic causes , charities or neighbourly and local community help.
Like the modernized version of Christianity , more so among the Protestant denominations, that has chosen to keep up with the fast pace of a evolving society’s cultural values and especially the youth energy , taking up many of the philanthropic causes and giving it high profile which also inadvertently contributed to their appeal, for the many who desire to have a contributory role in these meaningful philanthropic or charitable causes .
Thereby the churches managing to capture the essence of the core spiritual values in a setting that appeases the very humanistic instinct or yearning to do good and be charitable to our fellow beings who needs aid – (a selfish motivation in a way, because the realization of one’s own self and actions is a direct /indirect causative factor in alleviating hardship or giving cheer , is a tremendous boost to our own feelings of self-worth, meaning and gratification.)
These “Causes” captivates the exuberance of youthful energy and pulsing life ,recruiting or engaging their contributions to meaningful things , as it were, and that has enabled the churches to grow from strength strength.
The Christians , in this regard , seem to have identified the formula on reconciling faith and the spiritual dimension with modernity and recognized it’s effect and impact on the psyche of a post modern society , and have a measure of success in seeking out and address the segment that has spiritual yearnings and desires spiritual answers , that is sensible/rational and acceptable in the current day and age of technological advancements driven by science. And have thus gained a massive popular following worldwide.
The Muslims’s reluctance and stubborn rigidity in doctrines that refuses to stray far from the original . Laws made in and for desert civilizations of the then warring violent desert nomadic tribes people , are mental obstacles but that they seem to be in denial of and reject, when pointed out as a factor to merely consider.
There is a risk of the Muslims being completely out of touch with the advancing waves of generations after generations of those who seek spiritual solace in their own backdrops and cultural setting globally , in the everchanging modern times forged ahead very rapidly by a rational world of science and technological innovation . in effect dulling the emotional enchantment of mysterious religious spiritualism.. It risk obsoleteness if it stubbornly refuses to budge from it’s stance of seeing things and interpretation of sacred doctrines from a 1st -2nd century point of view..
Already there are indications that adherents of the Islamic faith ,in the more moderate or progresssive Islamic nations , are at a point where they feel uncomfortable with some of the rigid doctrines and side stepped them formulating or adapting a more relevant interpretation to the modern society / community they live among..extracting spiritual values that were historically non-existent but highly significant to a post modern society , not resisting re-interpretation of the doctrines to be more adaptive and relevant to the current age and generations.