Sunday, July 20, 2014

Rhie Won-bok on Christian 'Misuse' of "Allah"

Rhie Won-bok
JoongAng Ilbo

Rhie Won-bok, a cartoonist who encountered some charges of antisemitism a few years back over his depiction of the US as controlled by Jews, has recently opined on Malaysia's decision to block non-Muslims from using the Muslim word for "God," i.e., "Allah." He concludes that this is analogous to differences in the name for "God" among Catholics and Protestants in Korea:
In Korea, the Catholics and Protestants believe in different gods. Catholics believe in Haneunim while Protestant Christians believe in Hananim. While Haneunim was the general term to refer to the Christian god when the religion was first introduced in Korea, Protestant churches differentiated their god by using a different spelling. Just as Allah is not for everyone, Haneunim is not the same god for all Christians. The Malaysian case is therefore not much different from the Korean situation. (Rhie, "'Allah' is not for all," JoongAng Ilbo, July 17, Page 28)
I don't want to be rude, but Mr. Rhie is all wet. Catholics and Protestants do not worship different 'Gods'! They simply use different Korean names for "God." Furthermore, no law exists in Korea forbidding one or the other usage by anybody. The Malaysian case is therefore completely different from the Korean situation, for the Malaysian legal system outlaws the use of "Allah" by non-Christians in certain contexts.

Moreover, Mr. Rhie never thought to inquire about the term used by Arab Christians for God.

That word is "Allah."

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At 12:21 AM, Blogger Kevin Kim said...

That word is "Allah."

A word which, as Karen Armstrong points out, comes from al-Lah—literally, "the God."

At 6:46 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Rhie also 'knows' this:

"'Allah' is the Arabic word for God. It is derived from al-, meaning 'the,' and 'ilah,' meaning 'deity.' It is equivalent to Adonai in Judaism and God in Christianity."

But even in this 'knowledge,' Rhie reveals a vast incapacity for rational reflection. Allah would not correspond to Adonai, but to El and Elohim in Hebrew and to God in English.

Incidentally, Muslims say that Allah comes from Al-Ilah, but some linguists says it is borrowed from Aramaic Alaha . . .

Jeffery Hodges

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